Is Jesus still in Christmas?
This is a legitimate question for many Americans and an important tension that those of us who call ourselves Christians wrestle with. Regardless of who you are, this is a good question. One that should make us stop and rethink our family traditions and the way we treat the holiday season.
Growing up, my parents always went over the top for Christmas. I clearly remember flipping through the Service Merchandise catalog (showing my age), and meticulously fold every page, and circle everything on my wish list. Come Christmas morning, I would wake up with a slue of presents underneath the tree and ballistically tear through each one. My parents went all out. They spoiled my brother and I. Each Christmas morning brought a tremendous amount of happiness to my heart as a child….but not an everlasting joy. As a parent of three now, I wrestle with the tension of following the footsteps of my parents with spoiling my boys with a ton of gifts on Christmas. But at what cost? More than just racking up the credit card bills and buying things that they will play with that week and then never touch it again, the question is, “Am I teaching my kids the everlasting joy of Christmas or temporary happiness in stuff?”
When I think about the question I rethink everything I say and do surround Christmas. Where is that balance? Where is the line between Christmas being about presents, Santa, and that dang elf I forget to hide every single morning to pointing to a season of anticipation for the birth of Christ? The danger for each of us is to fall into the trap of Christmas consumerism. Even in “church world” we make Christmas the ‘Super Bowl’ of all services. Have we made Christmas a one time big production? When you think about Christmas what comes to mind?
A huge Christmas programs at your church?
Long lines to see a fancy Santa?
School programs out the wazoo?
Black Friday shopping to save?
I know I am guilty of it. It seems that Jesus gets buried under all the production, long lines, and chaos of consumerism. All of these things are centered on stuff, temporary stuff. I don’t know about you, but I do not want my children to be instilled with the concept that stuff equals happiness. Sure, I want to get my kids things that make them happy, but that is a small piece of life not all of life. I am not saying not to buy presents or not look for good deals but what I am asking is:
Where is Jesus in your Christmas? Is it more about stuff or Jesus?
As a parent I would love to hear how you make Christmas more about Christ than the stereotypical Christmas. Please comment below.