“Commercialism” is a buzzword with a negative connotation, accused of stealing sincerity from the Christmas season. Big box chains and online retailers see the benefit of Christmas tradition in their bottom line, each year creeping further back into our Thanksgiving celebrations. The marketed rush of “have to haves” brings out a less endearing side of humanity, but no quest to cash in can take “Christ” out of Christmas.
“Commerce” defines the exchange of goods and services. Humanity has evolved from paying with chunks of precious metal to transferring funds online, and bartering the craftsmanship of our own talents has taken a back seat to free 2-day shipping. God is not surprised by the world-wide shift in commerce. Nothing He created or purposed can slip out of His omnipotent reach. Every commercialized push for Christmas lends an opportunity to elevate the gospel of Christ.
God promised us in the Old Testament that He “will take care of the hidden things” (Deuteronomy 29:29). When we were created, He declared, “It is good!”(Genesis 1:31). God set us down in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by His love and provision. We were created to exist in the joy of knowing that He is Lord and we are His creation. The sinful curse that began with the Serpent has since caused confusion over how much fun we are actually allowed to have in this life.
Jesus instructed us “not to worry” (Matthew 6:31;34), yet that is what plagues us. Constantly pulled from one side of an over-commercialized holiday season to the other that denies the appropriation of giving gifts at all … it can be hard to know what not to worry about! But Jesus assured us, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
This is the society that we live in, and we have to find a way to unite in prayer for each other, especially at Christmastime. All families are challenged to maintain an unrealistic amount of patience with difficult family members at Christmastime, but the power of prayer can cut through any awkward situation. No matter how blended we may be, God hears us, He loves us, and embraces us!
I clutched the New Testament pages of my worn and highlighted Bible, as I read through the gospel of Mark. Matter of fact and quickly moving, I sped through the life of my Savior morning after morning, miracle after miracle. We so commonly know of Him, even if we don’t fully understand who He is. Those in His own hometown, including His family, thought He was crazy when He stepped out of the simple life He was born into and into His earthly ministry of miracles.
Christmas can make us feel like we’re crazy. We abide in an ever-increasing “PC” society that refuses to give the holiday’s namesake it’s greeting. Commercialism threatens to cheapen the man that raised people from the dead and healed them miraculously. Disheartenment can drown out our holiday cheer, leaving us to feel like the kid in Home Alone …”is this a joke?”
Christmas can be joyful no matter our circumstances, because of the hope Jesus brought down from Heaven with His birth. Those of us blessed with the witness of parenthood forever share a piece of our souls, and it seems insurmountable to fill the void when those little lives that once clung to us in safety are replaced with somber quiet.
Parents lose their children every day. Many are lost to the epidemic of addiction. Divorced couples lose time with their children around the holidays. Grown children move out, leaving their parents to miss their chatter.
As I get ready to celebrate another blessed Christmas with my elementary-aged children, I am humbled in gratefulness and moved by the Spirit to pray for parents whose innocent Christmas joy is absent this year.