I'm not sure this post is going to make any sense, to anyone other than myself...but that's the genius of having your own blog....it doesn't even matter if anyone else gets it.
I dread Christmas shopping. If I only had a few presents to buy, I might enjoy it...but by the time I even get through half of our huge list I am less than jolly. This year, thanks to my new bff Dave Ramsey I'm happy to report we've budgeted in every last penny for Christmas. And instead of looking at the budgeted amount and rejoicing that we have enough money to make it work, I feel sick to my stomach that it costs so.much.money. I can't help but feel like it's really sort of a waste. A big waste.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus by spending a bunch of money and time on material things.
We can put whatever spin on it that we want to, and trust me, I'm the Queen of justification, but it really boils down to the above sentence.
As a believer, what message am I sending? Because I have to tell you, I feel like a hypocrite. Because what I believe to be true, and what my actions are do not match...it's practically the definition of a hypocrite.
Maybe I've forgotten what I really truly believe. Maybe it's time to take a few steps back. Back to my source of truth, which is not tradition and/or consumerism but God's Word.
As I look through the Bible, I can't help but see that God himself didn't command me to make a huge ginormous yearly celebration over the birth of his son. No matter how many times, well meaning Christian people tell me, I will still not think it's biblical to give each other gifts because God gave us the gift of his son. Is it wrong? No. But can it be? Yes.
As Christians, do we really see what we're doing? We're offended when people and shopping malls say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas, because how dare they take Christ out of Christmas!
The world can't take Him out of it, they never had Him in it in the first place. But believers...lets at least be honest with ourselves. We love the tradition of Christmas. We love the church services, the programs, the Christmas carols. We love reading the Christmas story. Some of us even enjoy the crazy schedules, parties, and lists of wants. There's nothing wrong with any of those things, what feels wrong, for me at least...is doing it all in the name of celebrating my savior. We love to try to make traditions into something holy. And the world, it sees us better than we see ourselves sometimes. They see behind the facade.
God wants us. In the hustle and bustle of a holiday that we've created, where's our heart? In the massive amounts of time and money it takes to prepare for the holiday, where's our heart? Is it thinking about all Christ has done for me? Is it ministering to the emotional and physical needs of those around me, is it doing what God really has asked...being still and knowing that He is God?
Mine is not. Mine is too busy. Mine is explaining and rationalizing to my heavenly father that it's totally ok, because after all...I'm celebrating his birth! Think he's pleased? Think I've convinced him? He's not impressed by my justification skills...in fact, he's trying to crucify them.
The past few years, we've tried to do small things to back out of the craziness, so to speak. Interestingly enough, at times it made me feel like a huge party pooper. It's easier to go with the flow...turns out, being a hypocrite is super easy! :) But I long to do something radical about it. It doesn't matter how many times I try to tell my kids that Christmas isn't about presents...because if presents are involved, ITS ABOUT PRESENTS!
I guarantee that my boys love their birthday because it means gifts, not because they're celebrating their birth.
I long to say that the true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus, and have my actions and life mean it. I'm not so excited about being the weirdo scrooge who poops on the party that is Christmas.
Maybe next year.
Any radicals out there?