Christmastime can be hard to watch. I don’t mean only the panicked looks on people’s faces as they might worry if they’ve gotten everything on their lists, even after checking it twice, but one needs only to turn on the television to see that Christmas can be hard to watch. If you are not watching the news filled with stories of inter-party politics within the GOP and tales of a recently escaped 5 time sex offender you will still find commercials doing what they do best, commercializing.
Christmas has become a holiday of commerce stretching from Black Friday to the day the last Christmas gift gets returned. Commercials are filled with heart-warming and joyful reasons not to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace or the unlikely Son of God, but to shop at their stores and get marvelous discounts. Rather than giving and receiving out of joy for those around you, Christmastime looks more like an obligation. An exchange of material symbols of the material culture instead of the affection in our hearts.
Perhaps in light of the economic situation of many Americans (48% at or under the poverty line currently) it is best to remember the conditions of the event which we as Christians celebrate. We celebrate a child being born to an unwed teenage girl in a place where it smelled bad and was probably very unsanitary. We celebrate the coming of God into the world at an unlikely place at an unlikely time. We celebrate that God did not dwell with us out of obligation, but out of affection, even undeserved affection (gotta make sure there’s a little Lutheran in here!).
Christmastime has been tough for me to watch as people stress to make sure that everyone buys the things they need to make a perfect holiday when really the most important gifts of Christmas can be found beyond the idea of the perfect Christmas in a place where love of neighbor and God meet with joyous celebration of the perfection in the imperfection.
Have a very merry Christmas! And please pass it along to your loved ones.
Until Next Friday!