Struggling to Recover Christmas
It is not difficult to confess how misguided we have become with Christmas. The difficult part is figuring out how to find our way again. We are going to exchange gifts as a family, but we have cut back. Instead of trying to simply fill the wish list, we are trying to be more thoughtful and personal with our choices. We have chosen a passage to meditate on and talk about throughout the season. We are involving our daughters in missional acts this season. But it is still busy, still expensive, and Christmas still feels as if it can be easily lost again this year.
Between family, school, church, the rec. team and a few other odds and ends our daughters are involved with, it seem as if for the next few weeks there is a party every 30 minutes, each of them requiring a $5 - $10 gift. Before you know it, you’ve spent $60 - $80 on relatively frivolous things. I know I sound “scrooge-ish” but I guess this year my conscience has been more awakened to the materialistic waste of it all. An interesting note is that our oldest daughter, who is very conscious of the needs of others, is beginning to question the same things. She is awakening to the pattern that at Christmas we mostly buy and do without personally connecting to a sense of need or meaning. Many families in our church have shared the same sort of feelings my wife and I are experiencing. We know there is something wrong, but with so much social pressure it is very difficult to do anything about it without coming across as The Grinch.
If there is anything in all of this I do not want; I do not want to be Scrooge in Jesus’ name. I refuse to use my daughters as the objects of our social protest by holding them out of parties. To do so would not be parenting with grace. To send them to a party with nothing and tell them that because we love Jesus they must to sit out of the gift exchanges is not edifying to anyone, nor is it the gospel. If I read the Gospels correctly, Jesus seems to be the sort of guy who would go to a party with a gift just so He could be with the people He sought to save. Maybe that’s the answer, I don’t know. Practically what can you do? Are we to surrender Christmas to culture or are we to rage against the machine? Where is the balance? We are struggling not only to justify it, but even to afford it.
All I can say is that at this point, we are talking about it more. As a family, I think we are sharing more of our struggles and we are seeking more definite ways to apply Scripture. I hear the content of our prayers changing. We are talking about moral balance, monetary budgets, and how to exercise grace and refrain from being judgmental. We have fostered some good ideas on how to calculate not only waste, but ways we can meet the needs of others. Things are changing, but there are still a lot of questions.
Where are you in your pursuit to “Recover Christmas?” I am curious to know. Please share your thoughts.