Christmas Day, 2014……what has changed over the years. Well, what I see is the season has become more of a commercial enterprise, designed to help the businesses make a bundle of money during the few weeks before and after that holiday event. It once was that one did not hardly mention Christmas before Thanksgiving, but these years, the commercials and street buzz begins to happen about the second week of October……if not before. Oh yes, the business community designs it that way with their Brown and Black shopping days….pre and post Christmas sales and extended store hours. It is disheartening to watch the mad frenzy of human beings pushing through store doors with very little concern for others. Some in fact have been assaulted by this kind of behavior. They have selfish motives to catch the best television, or other sale item to the disregard of others. God sent Jesus to us for PEACE on EARTH. Where is that PEACE and how have we become so absent minded about the Love of God. Even as Jesus walked this earth, he asked us not to lay up our treasures in material things.
Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” It is easy to note how thieves break into cars and homes during this season to steal the gifts purchased in the stores. It is easy to know that not even the popular electronic equipment will last forever without being destroyed by use It is easy to know we scramble to have the newest and most up to date items regardless whether older models still work or not. It is easy to know we are struggling in a popularity war……the person with the newest, most expensive or most unique wins out as the hero of the block.
I have been caught in that “do as expected” philosophy based upon societies material encrusted mindset. I guess that is why I hated Christmas so much as my mother did. It was a game of buying for everyone in the family with money I did not have and often had to stack up my credit card with extra bills. I was always taught you try to give equally to each of the family members you love. For a family of 20 or more that means being embarrassed by some trinket as a gift or no gift at all. There have been years in which I would sit and cry because the social pressure became so much dictating that I should get everyone some meaningful gift. I began to note the gifts I purchased for several individuals were returned to the store and exchanged for something else. There is entirely too much social pressure to buy, buy, and buy some more so the stores will be happy and the families can boast of a wonderful, gift-laden Christmas. Talking with some young folks about Christmas as experienced in the 40’s and 50’s for a poor farm family, they could hardly believe and definitely did not want to have those experiences in the present day.
In 2001 I lived in a modest older home but I had some meaningful items upon which I cherished very much. Some of these items were family heirlooms, rather expensive items of furniture and paintings and drawings that adorned my walls. In an instant, my house was burning and I lost everything. The treasures I cherished were no longer treasures. They were scraps of charred wood and paper beyond any use in any future home. I was deeply hurt emotionally by the fire, but I was very thankful I still had a faith in Jesus Christ to carry on.
It was when I became disabled and on a fixed income that I realized I could not keep up the charade of gift buying. I began to look around and realized not all those I was buying for did not share gifts with me. It was financially insane to buy over 20 meaningful gifts for family and friends and to get one or two in return. I still give some sort of gift to immediate family, but it is something I have made that costs only for ingredients, such as fudge, cookies, jelly, or pickles. At least I have taken the anxiety out of shopping the stores for just the right gift for that specific loved one.
As I become more involved doing ministry with the low income folks and those on a fixed income, I note a whole lot of them skip over Christmas like a kid jumping over a crack in a sidewalk. For so many, it is just another day and if they do not receive a charitable gift, they usually receive no gifts at all. That is not good news to the business world.
The story is clear that the birth of Jesus is celebrated on Christmas Day, but we find it unpopular to mention Jesus in public all that much . So for the children, in order for them to grasp the concept of gift giving we picked up on the story of St. Nicholas and Santa Clause is the common word for Christmas.. Are we doing an injustice to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. When did Santa Clause with his material gifts ever take the place of Jesus coming to our world.
John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believe in Him should not parish but have everlasting life.
My salvation is worth much more than any big screen television or other expensive gift.