Unless you live under a rock, you’ve already been bombarded with Christmas stuff. Christmas, muzak, Christmas advertising on TV, newspapers, online, and the fliers… how many trees die to produce those? And the message? BUY. Preferably LOTS.
I LOVE Christmas. This is easily my favourite season of the year. I love the long, winter nights. I love hot apple/cranberry cider. I love decorating my house with all the lovely things I’ve gathered or that have been gifted to me over the years. I love Christmas cookies. I LOVE turkey. I love carols. I love the Advent season and the wonderful, thoughtful services that my church has during this time. I love the upside-down nature of the Jesus story – that the son of God came as a baby to a humble, poor couple, in a cave, celebrated by lowly shepherds. So cool of him to sneak in like that.
All of this is so far removed from this crazy, buying frenzy that Christmas has become. It’s ridiculous – and so many of us agree that it’s ridiculous, so why does it seem to get worse if we agree it’s so?
Don’t get me wrong, I also love giving gifts. I enjoy thinking about each person on my list and how I can creatively bless them with something unique that says “I chose this for you because you are special to me.”
But there is a difference between giving and simply buying. Some of the gifts I give are new. Some are thrifted. Some are homemade. Some are even donations made in honour of a person. It just really depends on the person. What I loathe is the feeling of obligation that is created by the advertising mania at this time of year.
So each year, I feel like I have to take Christmas back from those that would cheapen it by making it all about the purchase. Last Sunday in church, our pastor spoke about “Sacred Pauses” – taking time each day to pause, to reflect, to give thanks, to become aware of the presence of Emmanuel: God – with – us. She shared this great quote: “You only need a tiny scrap of time to move toward God.” – The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th century. Pairing that with the fact that God also moves towards me, seeks me out… makes that scrap of time/distance even shorter.
A tiny scrap of time. Isn’t that lovely? Holding a sleeping child. Praying before a meal. Going for a walk. Watching the birds at my feeder. Sharing laughter with friends. These are small things but being intentional about them makes a difference. That’s my goal for this Advent/Christmas season – to be intentional about taking pauses throughout my day to move towards, and be met by, the Sacred.
How do you deal with the whole consumer-focus at this time of year?