If We Hate It So Much Why Do We Do It?

For years I’ve heard, both Christians and non-Christians complain about the commercialization of Christmas. Christians are frustrated that Jesus is no longer the focus of the day that remembers His birth.

Non-Christians feel that it puts too much pressure on the finances of families, especially young families who often get into credit card hell over this season and it is one that can last for months. The bills can’t be paid on time and that 19-25% interest really adds up.

So it begs the question; if we are so opposed to the commercialization (Christians) and the financial strain (all of us), why do we do it, and we do.

We just passed black Friday and as I write this, it is cyber Monday. In 2020 Americans spent almost 40 billion dollars between Thanksgiving and cyber Monday. That’s almost $120 per person. Including children who probably spent nothing.

I think the reason that we do it is because it’s what everyone else is doing. The societal pressure is great and we aren’t as resistant as we like to believe. To take a stand, to be different, takes a lot of energy. To have your family be the one that stands out in the neighborhood takes a lot of fortitude, and so we give in.

We tell ourselves that it’s part of celebrating the season. We console ourselves by saying we aren’t spending as much as so and so. But we pick someone who is spending thousands and thousands, more than anyone else we know. That’s a form of self-deception, and in the back of our minds we know it. Come February when all of the bills have come in we know it in the front of our minds

This is not a new problem, it’s been going on for centuries. John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement wouldn’t celebrate Christmas. In fact in England there was an attempts to ban Christmas.

The Puritans when they came to America they did ban the celebration of Christmas. They found it wasteful and non-Biblical. They even forbid people to go to church on Christmas.

I find Biblical reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus even though we have no real evidence that He was born in December, let alone the 25th. What I do find un-Biblical is the way that we do choose to make it a time excess. Yes, we should be generous at Christmas, but not just in our own families. But the generosity shouldn’t be about how much we spend on each gift.

A much better way for us to celebrate is with generosity in our community. Generosity with our time, our talents, and our money. This is a real celebration of the one who came into our world to give generously of Himself. His generosity reached it’s zenith on that cross some 33 years later.

Celebrate Advent and Christmas; yes. But celebrate them for the right reason. The birth was just a beginning. What made all the difference was not a manger in Bethlehem, but a cross in Jerusalem.

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