‘Tis the season to be jolly… But I am so over it. With every passing year, I get a little more disgusted with the American concept of Christmas and what it is supposed to look like. And every year, we let go of a little more of that glittery, tinsel covered ideal in exchange for a simpler approach. Less stuff, less money, less parties, less stress, just less. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am no Ann Voskamp with her upside down Christmas Tree, at least not yet… But I am just done with all the hype and excess and extravagance. It isn’t good for us, friends. And it isn’t good for our kids.
This isn’t a soapbox, or a pet peeve, or a rant. It is a deep and growing conviction that we are doing ourselves and our children a grave disservice by distracting them with shiny things. Because what we are distracting them from is the very thing that could make their lives meaningful. We string up our twinkling lights, the ones where only half the strand actually works… We put all the sparkly ornaments up that reflect those cheap lights, and all the while we neglect to point them to the true Light.
John 8:12 says, “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”
I think of the lights strung up all over the house…
He says later in that chapter “You’re looking right at Me and you don’t see Me.”
I think of the baby Jesus in the nativity set that the kids play with…
And when He says “You’re missing God in all this…”
I think of all those presents wrapped up for people who already have more than they need.
Yes, I took those verses out of context. No, I am not trying to build a case for no lights, no tree, no presents… But the thing that bothers me so is that I can get so caught up in all of that stuff that I totally miss the Glory, the Light, the Joy, the Hope, the Answer, the Good News that is JESUS. And if I miss it, so will my children. Almost everything about the way we do Christmas is opposite of the heart of Christ.. Here is what He had to say about it:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
I could be way off here, but it looks to me like our treasure might be under our Christmas trees.
If you are still reading, and not mad at me for blasting our collectively huge FAIL when it comes to Christmas, here is some good news: It’s not too late! We can turn this thing around! We have exactly 3 weeks to redirect our focus and point our families to the only source of true JOY. You don’t have to burn your Christmas tree and return your gifts, but you can do this: My sweet friend and fellow blogger, Jamie, wrote a great little piece about how we can make Jesus the focus of our Christmas celebration. Since it is His birthday and all, she came up with a list of things we can do to give back to Him, and store up treasures in Heaven. You can find that list here:
I want to leave you with this quote from Jen Hatmaker from her book, 7:
“What if we tried together? What if a bunch of Christians wrote a new story, becoming consumers the earth is groaning for? I suspect we’d find that elusive contentment, storing up treasures in Heaven like Jesus told us to. I’m betting our stuff would lose its grip and we’d discover riches contained in a simpler life, a communal responsibility…Perhaps the secret to happiness is right under our noses. maybe we don’t recognize satisfaction because it is disguised as radical generosity, a strange misnomer in a consumer culture.”
Let’s turn this thing around.