and the commercialism of Christmas.
First, a confession: It isn’t Thanksgiving yet and I am listening to Christmas music as I write this in my office. I love Christmas and I love celebrating the Birth of Jesus – God, King, Savior, Life Giver & Life Changer.
Because I love celebrating, talking about and inviting others to experience Jesus, it would seem natural for me to have a certain disdain for the consumerism/commercialism attached to both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But I don’t. Not completely. I believe there is a sacredness to it.
And that creates some tension for me. And maybe you?
Deep, deep down we all are aware, if we are honest (and what are we if we aren’t honest?), that consumerism has infiltrated the church, diluted the Gospel and all but rendered God’s people in Western Culture ineffective ambassadors of the Good News.
But – no – I mean BUT, I would like us to consider two things:
First, I wonder this question. When did the Church become so inert that we would depend upon manufacturers, retailers, businesses & culture to keep Christmas about Jesus? Rather than living exhilarating lives of faith, we find ourselves sitting in our lazy-boys throwing popcorn at the screen of life and yelling at the players & coaches to turn things around. And then, when we get tired of yelling, we get up and participate in the very thing we say we scorn.
Church, it is not the responsibility of Best Buy, Starbuck, Kohls or Amazon to keep our Faith alive.
But maybe they are!
Second, would you consider this next question with me? What if Thanks-getting, Black Friday and Christmas Commercialism are actually part of God’s answer to a prayer Jesus taught us to pray?
In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus teaches his disciples a simple way of praying. Many of us have it memorized and call it The Lord’s Prayer. Some of us pray it every week in worship. Verse 11 simply says Give us today our daily bread.
Now, the Israelites and even Jesus ate more than just bread. There were fruits, vegetables and even meat. That piece of the prayer is not just about bread, but all that is necessary for the sustaining of life and references God’s daily provision for His People as they wandered in the wilderness hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
And what if a successful Black Friday and retail season leading toward Christmas Day is part of God’s answer to that prayer? Traditionally there have been two markers for us regarding the health of our economy: home ownership, especially new homes; and retail season beginning with Black Friday.
Best Buy employs about 125,000 people. Target about 366,000. Kohls 140,000. Imagine with me how many people would go without their daily bread (read that as “unemployed”) if our economy didn’t work because we killed off 4th quarter spending.
Black Friday and the Christmas retail season provides is a significant piece in our overall economy and without it, many more would be unemployed – hundreds of thousands.
Do we need to be excessive? No. Do we need to go into debt? No. Does it need to consume us? No.
But because it provides all kinds of jobs for people all over the world, jobs that allow people to buy their daily bread, it becomes part of God’s answer to the prayer.
There is a sacredness to God’s answering of prayer.