Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas: "Business as Usual"?

Have you noticed that Christmas came early this year? It seemed to me that Christmas came to the malls sometime before Thanksgiving – maybe even before Halloween. Sears and Penny’s, American Eagle and Foot Locker may have even had their Christmas sales going somewhere around Labor Day. I’m being facetious, of course; but it did seem as if the rampant consumerism began very, very early this year.

My wife and I went out for our requisite Christmas shopping the other day and we bought gifts for our kids, our daughters-in-law, and most certainly, for our granddaughters. We just finished decorating our living room and the front deck – and even as I write this, my wife is in the kitchen baking this year’s batch of Christmas cookies. Our church has scheduled the usual Christmas concert and children’s Christmas program – and we’re trying to figure out how to juggle our family Christmas time with church services since this year’s holiday is on a Sunday.

In other words – this year’s Christmas seems to be “business as usual.” Retailers need “Black Friday” to end the year in the black financially. Families have long-standing traditions; and churches, with pure motives certainly, are trying to fit the traditional programs into overly busy schedules surrounding the Christmas season.

I don’t know about you, but Christmas seems normal, typical, and traditional.

The problem with that, however, is that it is the exact opposite of what Christmas should be! The story of the birth of Christ, if anything, is the account of how normal human traditions were shattered and obliterated by the direct intervention of God into the affairs of human existence. This truth is exemplified
in the familiar Christmas story in Luke 2. I have been especially challenged by the response of the shepherds to the angelic pronouncement in verse 14. The next two verses explain how these nomadic herdsmen left everything and left immediately to see the Christ-child.

The birth of Christ changed everything – and the world would never be the same.

So, let’s think about our “business as usual” approach to Christmas this year. Maybe it’s time to do something different – something that is actually special and unique – maybe even radical. You can come up with the practical ideas. Talk to your family, mention the concept to your youth group and see what you come up with to make this year’s Christmas truly something extraordinary.

Maybe it’s fitting somehow that we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on a Sunday!

(This article originally appeard in the VFY Resource Newsletter.)

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