I was driving between towns the other night and I could see houses lit up with Christmas lights. It should give me a warm fuzzy feeling, but it doesn’t.
I am not a Christmas fan. Yes, a Christian who doesn’t like the holiday. I was this way before being saved though.
What is there to like about it? People rushing around trying to find gifts for people to show them they love / care for them. People on a whole spend too much money and put themselves further into debt. People are rude and inpatient while shopping. Theft increases. People raise the prices for items in an attempt to make more money. Companies and the media try to sell us this attempt to find joy and happiness during the holidays through inferior and temporary means. Give a gift and feel happy. What about tomorrow? How long is that joy supposed to stay with you?
No where in scripture do we see give a present to someone and say Happy Birthday Jesus! The holiday is nothing like the message we claim it means.
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then the righteous will say to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you something to eat, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ The king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, in that you did it for one of the least important of these my brothers, you did it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who are accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked, and you didn’t clothe me. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ Then he will say to them, ‘Truly I tell you, in that you did not do it for one of the least important of these, you did not do it for me.’
So where is the Christmas feeding of the hungry and the clothing of the naked? Have you watched the people who just put their heads down as they pass by the Salvation Army people because they feel the guilty of not giving to the needy? That doesn’t stop them from buying gifts or going into debit though. Why not give that money to charity to help people who need it and will enjoy it beyond today? Why not take the time spent decorating and buying gifts and use it to help people who are lonely and want to feel loved? Have you seen the people in nursing homes. They cry when someone sings a Christmas song to them. Have you ever seen the face of homeless people when you serve them a hot meal and just say merry Christmas to them? The fastest growing demographic among the homeless is children. Where is the compassion to those little ones?
This holiday truly makes me sick. The suffering of people is ignored so that we don’t have to feel sad and face our own selfishness. Christianity is not about avoiding suffering but embracing it. We are called to embrace those who suffer and suffer along with them. We suffer as we experience the pain and loneliness with them, but in that experience a new one is revealed. When one suffers with another, love is revealed. I think that is what love really is in this fallen and sick world. It is opening yourself up to suffer with others.
When Christmas passes, they will still be suffering, but my goal is to be suffering with them. I will feel alive in sharing love with others who so desperately crave it. When the hypocrisy of this season has passed, I know the love shared will linger on.