Rethinking the Season

We’ve made some changes this Christmas, and I anticipate it being more enjoyable and less stressful than ever. We’re preparing well in advance, so that we won’t be scrambling to get everything done at the last minute.

Still, there is something more we need to do. We need to approach this season radically different than the rest of our culture. We need to make it fit with our values.

If you talk to anyone, they will tell you that Christmas isn’t about the stuff. They will pay lip service to the lesson of the Grinch. It’s about family. It’s Jesus’ birthday. The stuff is just…extra….

However, we all have visions of overstuffed stockings and mountains of presents under the tree. It’s about that magical look in the children’s eyes when they see what Santa has brought them. It’s about getting the shopping done, and checking off everyone on your list. In our culture, the stuff is integrated. Christmas isn’t Christmas without the stuff. We have countless charities that donate Christmas stuff to people who otherwise can’t afford it. Everyone is entitled to a “great Christmas.”

So what is wrong with that? What is wrong is that, while people are starving in the world, we are filling our houses to excess. We are buying things just to have more things. We are buying things that won’t last, that will end up in the landfill. We are spending ourselves into debt, so that we can buy other people things that will, ultimately, be thrown away.

So how do we go against the grain of our culture? How do we have a great Christmas, without all the spending, without the mountain of stuff? We need to rethink gift giving, rethink our vision, rethink our traditions, and rethink our needs. I will be suggesting ways to do each of these throughout this Christmas season.

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