Watching T.V. the other day, a commercial came on showing some kids playing with some toy. The kids looked like they were having the time of their lives. It was as if they had been born for just this moment- to play with THIS toy! My 8 year old Jenna, looked at me with all seriousness and said, "They are using persuasion to make me want that toy." I laughed as she used such an adult word. But as I stopped to really think about what she had just said...it hit me that she just summed up our modern day holiday season.
The culture we live in has told my daughter that her life is incomplete without this new toy/game/doll/clothing line. And it doesn't change as we get older- it just gets more expensive. And no time of the year is worse than Christmas time. When ALL the newest and best gadgets come out. Commercials showing loving looks to one another of a brand new car or diamond. Fathers/mothers getting hugs and laughs from sleepy eyed children ripping into gift boxes. All exhorting the viewer to go out and buy in the "Spirit of the Holidays"!
Don't misunderstand my thoughts...I don't believe giving gifts is wrong. I LOVE to give gifts. I love watching the recipient of that gift as they realize what they've gotten. I adore watching my kids get something and then play with it for the first time. It is truly my pleasure to do so for the people I love. But as a follower of Christ, I have to question what we're doing.
To celebrate the coming of our Savior- who came to preach the good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to give sight to the blind, release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor- we spend money on stuff that we don't need and give it to people who don't need it. So much so, we as a country will spend an estimated $140 BILLION on it this year! It would only take a fraction of that to provide clean water to the entire world!
So this year, let's make a difference. There are plenty of opportunities to buy gifts that make a difference. You can go to these websites and make purchases that help do just what Jesus said he came to do:
And these are just a few of the many avenues you could take. The point is to really proclaim what this season is truly about. It's not about who gets what, or standing in line early in the morning for good deals, and it certainly is NOT about what phrase a store clerk uses during check out. It is about the divine coming in flesh and tearing history in two! It is about Christ giving up heaven and humbling himself to human form. It is about a God who loved us so much as to sacrifice His son so He might have community with us. And it is about us using this time of year to truly proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.