Usually around this time of year I’m brushing up on arguments in defense of not having Santa around for our 4 & 6 year old boys. Or trying to slow the onslaught of gifts coming from grandparents. Or… I don’t even know.
For me, the problem with Christmas is that it’s never really been whatever it is for very long. And then it changes and becomes a new not-whatever-it-was-supposed to be. In its history, Christmas has been both celebrated and reviled by the church. The American colonies originally rejected its observance due to negative British association. Then took it back. It was obviously never supposed to be a corporate meal ticket, but it was never purely Christian either.
Now in the U.S. we’ve progressed to the point that corporate Christmas has its foot on the throat of Thanksgiving. I read an article this morning that referred once to Thanksgiving as “Black Thanksgiving,” describing the slow march of Christmas sale openings into a once treasured family holiday. That also used to be about one of the last nice things our ancestors ever did for native Americans. When we move on, apparently we move on.
But where I used to be upset, I’ve simply grown weary. I neither want nor expect corporate glut to give way to a Jesus party. But I also want to wash my hands of the mess. Do whatever it is you want to do at Christmas. Be sure to do it on purpose. Our family won’t be going into debt to meet the Christmas dreams of kids that think Santa is real and handcrafting Wiis with an army of elves. We also won’t be fighting off Christmas with a spend-your-overblown-budget-on-something-good campaign. This year we’re going to quietly spend Advent preparing for the coming of Christ and on the day we celebrate his birth, do so with awe and wonder at the way the world changed in response to a life lived in selfless love.
And tomorrow morning, we’re going to write a new budget that allows us to give more. Where it’s needed. The rest of the year.
youthworker :: musician :: friend :: twitter: @elvisfreakshow
www.kevinalton.com :: www.youthworkercircuit.com