Christmas for Sale

December 18, 2010
I’m putting out an Amber alert. The most influential child in the history of history of history of HISTORY is missing. This is his big day right? Everybody gathers together as a family to celebrate all the shiny, new toys they’ve gotten. I mean… they gather together to worship God… and ummm the Bible… and manger! Yeah there was a manger and some horses and Mary had a baby. Jesus, obviously. Plus three old dudes showed up with presents. Ooooh! Presents! That’s what I’m talking about. I REALLY want an iPad for Christmas. It’s pretty much a huge iPod touch with a whole new range of capabilities. It’s divine. Divine… that reminds me. Oh yeah; Jesus.
Well those who have the most to gain from Christmas, businesses attempting to commercialize it, are plundering the holiday like a sunken pirate ship. In order to do this, they must shift the consumer’s attention away from the spiritual purposes of this holiday in order to lure you into the belief that Christmas is about buying stuff, that I has always been about buying stuff, and that it will always be about buying stuff.
It’s a nice system for them really. If you own a toy company, are you complaining? Even jewelry and car companies get in on the action, showing an overjoyed spouse (flawless in complexion and hand-chosen to appeal to the largest demographic possible) receiving a brand new something-or-other with a Christmas tree and a warm fire in the background. Christmas is like a pro football player. They take the most popular player and pay him to say. “I like drink x” and then, because the consumer has such an deep affinity and respect for that player, they are more likely to buy “drink x.” So, the companies take Christmas and all the positive connotations associated with the holiday and throw their product in the mix and….Presto! Well Christmas is good, and that family is happy so…. the (insert product here) they are using must be great!
The fact is, Mary wasn’t wearing Tiffany and Joseph wasn’t sporting an Armani suit.
My intention is that you become aware of this fact so that you are more easily able to avoid the alluring traps set up by businesses to distract you from the reason for the season to focus on the brand new sale or this year’s ‘must-have’ item.
Consider this. An exchange student who has never heard of Christmas comes to America during Christmas, to your house, even. As that student studies the customs of this holiday in your home, what would be his impression?
Would he go back to his country saying, “Wow. Those people really care about each other. They take a day to celebrate the birth of thi savior by being generous to one another,”? Or, would a harder truth be evident? “Man, that holiday is great! Everybody takes a couple of days off from work an school so we can play with all our new toys. We look at all the new stuff we got. We show off our new stuff and try out our new stuff, and I’m pretty sure there’s something in there about going to church. Oh well, doesn’t matter.”
Basically, be sure you make time to take your eyes off of the presents under the tree and focus them on the top of the tree where the star resides, and remember for whom God made it shine.

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