I think we could agree we are all on a journey, searching…and it seems the holiday season exacerbates this searching feeling inside.
Unless the searching feeling has been satisfied. By the One who satisfies.
The One who satisfies came to us as a babe in a manger over 2000 years ago; today we celebrate His birth as Christmas. Maybe it’s me, but somewhere along the way celebrating Christ’s birth (aka Christmas) was hijacked by the searching monster. In the United States the “holiday season” begins at Halloween (or before), is punctuated by the Big Feast (aka Thanksgiving) in which we gorge ourselves on scandalous amounts of food and ends with the grand finale on Christmas Day. For many, Christmas Day has become a fest of consuming…of spending scandalous amounts of money on stuff we don’t really need in search of something we really do need. We make our lists, check them twice and head out to Wal*mart in search of…something.
Christ’s birth (aka Christmas) was meant to transform the world…not our credit rating. Why all this consuming during the holiday season? And it’s not just about buying gifts, either. There’s the new pots and pans to be purchased to cook all the extra food we are cooking, the new furniture for the people who are coming to visit…there’s the new clothes to buy for the parties we have to attend…there’s the wrapping paper and tape and ribbons to buy to wrap all the gifts we’ve purchased. And the $29.99 gallon of peanut oil to fry the $10.00 turkey. But you can use the oil over and over. Who fries food these days besides McDonald’s?
Now, I may be preaching to the choir…or maybe I’m just talking out loud to myself…you may have all this figured out. But way back in early October, I was shopping the local *big box discount store* for Halloween candy and I noticed Christmas décor and stuff in the aisle next to the princess and fairy costumes. The confused look on my face must have mirrored that on my children’s. “What’s the Christmas stuff for Mommy?” “Oh, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without a few Christmas decorations, would it, honey?” I decided I had had enough of the whole holiday consumer scene.
What if, as followers of Christ we would treat the holidays as the Holy Days they are? What if we would consider stopping the busyness…to slow down and listen to the One who satisfies? What if our transformed hearts would focus out on others, sharing the Hope that satisfies? This sounds great; you say…I want something different this year…but how?
Advent Conspiracy is a great place to start. Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption. This page has some specific ideas for relational giving.
What Would Jesus Buy? is a secular docu-comedy about the commercialization of Christmas. It’s from producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super size Me”) and has received very positive reviews from Christianity Today and Beliefnet.com among others.
Catalyst Church in Kent, Ohio has taken the Advent Conspiracy to a new level…check out Christmas in Kent.org.
Darryl at DashHouse.com has posted his column from Christian Week.
Here in my town three churches have formed Christmas on 84th Street…here’s the site for inspiration.
Inspiration for Celebrating Christ in Your Home:
What about Santa Claus? We began celebrating Saint Nicholas Day many years ago. Pastor Ralph Wilson at Joyful Heart Renewal Ministries has written a lovely article about Nicholas, find it here. Many of you may already know the story, I had never heard “the truth about Santa” until I was a Christ follower! For details on our family St. Nicholas celebration see Treasured Traditions.
Joanne at The Simple Wife has an Advent Countdown with daily treasures to share with her children. The project page has the how-to. I love the simplicity and the message…this project reminds me of Resurrection Eggs…but that’s for another special Holy Day!