I was shocked! Labor Day had just passed, the back to school items were being cleared out and now Costco was selling Christmas trees!
I guess I should not have been so surprised as the onset of Christmas selling has been inching earlier and earlier each year. But as I reflected on Pastor Chad’s sermon about God’s Present, as told in Matthew 1, it was startling to realize the little resemblance between Christmas today as compared to that first Christmas. And, sadly, how little Christ is acknowledged in the current celebration of Christmas.
Here we are, just after the 1st of December and the exploitation of this Holy event by all aspects of our society is robust…and revolting. I can hardly keep my email inbox cleared as it is bombarded with offers, announcements and pleas 24 hours a day. Retailers, newsletters, charities and scam artists are all trying to get a piece of me and/or my bank account. Oh, I don’t even need money because they all have some kind of connection to a credit card which they are happy to connect me to so I can easily spend more than I want (or have).
And then there is Black Friday, pre Black Friday, post Black Friday, Cyber Monday, pre Cyber Monday, post Cyber Monday, Cyber Tuesday, Black Friday revisited, etc., etc., and I don’t even have to leave my easy chair to do my shopping. It is so easy, go to Amazon, find the item, click on it, choose the size, color and the card I want to use to pay for it …then listen for the doorbell. Of course now my name and email address has just been added to numerous more mailing lists.
So, what do you value? The materialistic frenzy of our current commercialized Christmas or focusing more on God’s gift to the world in the form of His Son. There is the intellectual Christian answer and then the answer we give through our actions. This seems to be especially difficult at this time of year. We mean well as we observe our traditions, spend time with friends and family and eat all that scrumptious food so prevalent during the holiday season.
I am sure God is pleased with many of the individual and church things that we do. However, I suspect He is less than pleased when all our activity crowds out our worship of Jesus and our acknowledgement of what He has done for us.
Pastor Chad proposed an apropos exercise to help us truly keep Jesus in Christmas. He encouraged us to think about those special things we highly value—traditions, people, food, presents—and then consider how we show we value these things. Now think about Jesus and list the ways that you show Him how He is valuable to you. This exercise will likely lead to a conversation with God about your priorities. Only you can have that conversation and what you do about it is between you and God.