Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kelly Fryer's Note to the Church "STOP HOGGING CHRISTMAS!"


Okay that's not her exact words, that's my take on it. Kelly Fryer is always trying to get the church to stop hogging the Gospel to itself. Now she's taking on the Advent Conspiracy in A Renewable Holiday Season And I agree with everything she says.

I've been thinking along these lines for awhile now.  I even had a throw away line in my sermon about how we need to stop being so judgmental about the shopping malls at Christmas as those shopping malls give people jobs so that they can fix a nice Christmas dinner for their families.  A lady in the congregation who owns a store thanked me.  

Just think how she feels with all the scolding about shopping that goes on for Christmas?   

To quote Fryer:
Here's a message that would make more sense this year: SPEND MORE...wisely.
If you've got it, by all means friends, use it to do what matters. Give it away to help the poor. But, also, go spend it at your local florist, bookstore, or clothing shop. Invest it somewhere that will give life and make a difference.
The truth is I've given lip service to this "advent conspiracy" - don't spend money, make your own gifts, be simple gospel, but I never lived it or believed it. 

I LOVE Christmas decorations and lights and SHOPPING for presents.

I've had light up reindeer in my yard. 

Our first Christmas, we were pregnant and poor and my husband and I saw this SILLY USELESS "Santa's band" - where Santa and his elves played 50 Christmas songs on bells.  

It was $50.  $50 was a LOT of money in 1987.  No self-respecting advent conspirator would buy thatIt had nothing to do with Jesus.  But it made my husband and I smile.  And that was our Christmas present to each other.   

Today Santa's band is hopelessly tangled up, it takes up way too much space, the bells are broken so the carols sound pretty weird but the kids insist I get it out every year.

Fryer also challenges us to stop with the "them vs. us" thinking and this "take Christmas back" mentality.   

She's got the nerve to suggest that we stop insisting people can only have Christmas if they come to church.  

She suggests we get out there and celebrate THEIR Christmas with them.... 

And, in whatever way you can think of, be more Ho-Ho-Ho and a lot less Holier-Than-Thou.

Amen sister!  Now I need to go out and BUY MORE LIGHTS!


  1. I gotta read that one. link? I resonate with some of what the Advent Conspiracy says, but I've always been uncomfortable with stuff like (now) "Buy Nothing Friday", because my dad was in sales, and I know he counted on December to make enough commission to make an ok living.

    so, you know, it's not about the size of the gift, and if I have time, I do like to make things (although I often don't have time), but the stores aren't all evil, either. they are people trying to eat and have a house etc, too.

  2. The link is in the top paragraph or you can click the title of the blog post.

  3. My cousin had those christmas bell ringer things. I think they weren't santas, however. Not sure. She loved them because the pitch was perfect and they played the songs so simply.

  4. I like her confronting the economic/ethical aspect of buying less, especially this year of all years. And I think her point about how this buys into a point-of-view that is dominated by scarcity is spot on. The idea that the cultural celebrations of Christmas is something like an antithetical competitor to "true" Christmas (or nearly so) isn't really sustainable. And the hyperbole of a "death march" to Christmas and the like just grates on me. But I also find Kelly Fryer's post a bit too centered on ethics and behavior, our needing to make something of the holiday, instead of looking for the places of vibrancy in cultural observances of the season.

    On the other hand, I think that there is a great deal of contemporary cultural observances of the season that screams out for critique and criticism, and there should be reminders to pay attention to the spiritual and devotional side of the festival and season. But one should be weary of throwing the holy baby out with the commercial bath water. There is something quite unsettling about a movement that not only seeks to critique the cultural celebration, but seems to regard it as deeply suspect and even something to be rejected for what sounds to me like a claim to a "purer" celebration. It is almost as if the idea is to have an observance without any cultural aspects, if that it could or should be possible. Instead, it seems to me, they can only end up replacing one culture of celebration for a different, and perhaps not fully examined, one based on a contemporary individual preferences. In the end, we'd end up with a celebration the is the poorer for the attempt and potentially just as dry, stale, and out of focus as they claim current observances can be.

    So I'm skeptical of both, but, yeah, I'm much more in agreement with Kelly Fryer than those she is criticizing.

  5. But does it really help when the only place to buy anything (in my country, at any rate) is in the huge, faceless chains. My neighbour doesn't run a shop, or if he does, it just sells sweets and cigarettes. If I want to buy Christmas presents, then I need to go to a chain of some kind.

  6. You know I'm done even with judging the huge faceless chains this Christmas. There are people with faces and families who work there too.