Let the Season of Excess begin!
I remember as I grew up, stores were closed entirely on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday was not nearly so black….meaning, there were sales and shopping going on but not with the frenzy of today. Sundays, even during the holiday season, were reserved for worship. And it was still perfectly normal to say Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings.
The time between Thanksgiving (and according to some stores, including Thanksgiving Day) and Christmas mark the days of an all out war to obtain our dollars (or pounds, or Euros, or ….well, you get the idea). Advertisements lead us to believe we need the newest, the biggest, the brightest “whatsit” that we can get. Not only do we need it, we deserve it. It’s our right. It’s not about giving a real gift, but about receiving “stuff.”
And that is the crux of the problem. Christmas is about GOD giving something to us which we did not deserve, not for a moment. HE gave us hope incarnated in a baby born in a manger; HE gave us a way out of our mess; HE offered us life if we would just receive it. Christmas is not about sales or parties or excesses. It’s about something beyond our here and now.
Rather than spending large wads of money on gifts no one really needs or fighting crowds in stores for the sake of saving a few dollars, why not give of yourself? Scripture says that whatever we do for the “least of these,” we have done to GOD Himself. If we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday, how about actually giving HIM a present? ….a present of giving to the “least” among us.