Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas already

Picture borrowed from Chelsea Jacobs' blog.  Enslaved children on Lake Volta (circa 2010).

I think this post might be uncool to post, but it's on my heart.  So here goes....
First off, I was trying to find some cute Halloween plates/napkins/etc. on Saturday (day before Halloween...I know that was my initial problem), and found NOTHING.  All the stores were putting out Christmas stuff.  If you have been to Target or Hobby Lobby in the last two months (some of my favorite places), you know what I mean!  Now that isn't what annoyed me.  I love Christmas a lot more than Halloween, and I am glad that store owners seem to like Christmas too.

What bothered me was this:  Each year I get more and more disgusted with the artificialness and commercialism of Christmas.  I mean, everyone rushing around to buy gifts for people they feel obligated to buy for, and a lot of times don't even like.  I was very disappointed to see the Christmas stuff already out, because that just means it's time for intense materialism to sweep through the United States.  I've also noticed the increase in credit card commercials and offers in my mail.  I read something about credit card debt around Christmas; shocking and sad. 

I sat in our living room yesterday and just stared at what we have.  It's really easy for me to do the normal "compare myself to our friends" mental mind game.  But yesterday, I just realized how much we have.  How spoiled we are.  In fact, it's downright ridiculous.  I looked over at our pantry.  I have a few cans of food that probably are expired. (Very sad, I know.  I am just being brutally honest here.)  It takes years for canned goods to expire, and because of how much we have, I think two of our canned foods are near expiration. 

Guilty gulp.

Then I read my Bible.  It says this:
"Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’  “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Now I am not saying we are selling all we have and going away.  I just think that the average American mindset at Christmas is appalling.  I think if we just spent one day in the shoes of 90% of people on this earth, we would not be buying ourselves gifts at Christmas.  (BTW---I doubt I could handle one day of living in another person's world...I would probably "give up" after an hour of what 90% of this world is forced to endure daily!) 
Few people know this, but I actually didn't celebrate Christmas, growing up [strange family].  I am grateful to celebrate it now, but it has given me an "outsiders" view on the holiday.  I laugh when I read tens of emails each holiday season about how "disturbing" it is that business owners require their employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".  Yet aren't [we] the same people forwarding those emails the ones who don't keep much with the "Christ" part in Christmas either?  At least businesses are being honest.  :o)   
I love Christmas.  I love what it really stands for: sharing Christ's love.  I love all things red, green, sparkly, cozy and happy; clearly it's a good holiday.  I just don't love what we Americans have made it stand for.  So here's to a little more Thanksgiving...and a lot less Christmas right now.  I hope I see a turkey at Wal-Mart today.

I know these holidays will be especially bittersweet for us.  But I hope we can make them about sharing some of the love Christ has given us.


  1. AMEN!!!!! I have a lot to say about this...but I won't. You said it well already. :)

  2. my family always draws names for christmas, but we still end up spending too much. last year we decided to have a "handmade or used" christmas, and that was fun... we had really weird gifts from garage sales. :) this year we decided to have a book exchange... we are giving a book that we had read this year to the name that we draw, or to each couple in our family. so i'm looking forward to it... a different spin on christmas gift giving, and less of the materialism that ruins the holiday.