It's not even Advent yet and the anti-commercialism scolding has begun.
Now it's "Occupy Advent" on Facebook who are urging us not to post anything about buying things for Christmas. This seems like the most bizarre movement ever. Go ahead and buy stuff, just keep it secret.
Because, you know, shaming people into good behavior ALWAYS works so well.
It's not that consumerism is not an issue all times of the year.
It's the scolding and the shaming I am just durn tired of. I've written of this before. I like buying presents. I like Christmas trees and lights and even Santa Claus.
Do I think any of that has anything to do with Jesus?
Well yea, I do. Christmas is about the incarnation, God entering into our human lives. We don't have to put Christ back into Christmas, he's there whether you want him there or not. He is in the shopping malls. He is in the face of the harried mall clerk who could perhaps benefit more from a kind word from a shopper than someone boycotting the mall all together.
The Advent Conspiracy has been around for at least 20 years. Preachers have been haranguing about consumerism on Christmas as long as I can remember.
Let's ask ourselves a question.
HOW'S THAT WORKING FOR US?
Apparently not so well.
If the meaning of the coming of Christ into our lives has nothing to do with things, then let's stop focusing on things.
Buy gifts, make gifts, don't buy gifts. Post it on Facebook, don't post it on Facebook. Whatever. That's not what it is about.
Is it about the poor? Well yes but I'm pretty sure people are more charitable at Christmas time than any other time of the year so really I don't think we need more scolding about that either.
What is it about?
It's about God with us. All year round. In all parts of our lives. It's about God claiming all of us.
Even the part of us that thinks we can make everything better for children's first Christmas without their Dad by buying a bunch of toys. Deep down we know better but we are so desperate to see a little joy in them for a few minutes we'll take what we can get. (Okay you know I don't mean "we" right?)
God claims the part of us that is all self-righteous because we didn't get our hands dirty at an evil mall and we've hand made all our gifts.
God claims everyone, the people whose livelihoods depend on the money that comes in from Christmas shopping and the people who line up at the food pantry and rejoice that they got the last box of cheese its and are going to wrap it up and give it to their child as a Christmas gift, because they too, want to see a little joy in their child's face.
Christmas is a gift.
Let's just accept the gift and stop trying to earn it by either buying or not buying gifts. Maybe that's the best way to prepare for Christmas.