Gifts of Presence

nw_1659_lowresI don’t think Jesus would approve the rampant commercialism that has become entrenched in how we celebrate his birth, do you? All you have to do is look at how the advertisers interpret the holiday season to see how far removed they are from the real “reason for the season.”  I mean, do you think Christ really intended for us to run out and buy a car or two in order to celebrate his birth? Jesus is not the reason for buying a new Mercedes Benz–or diamonds and jewelry, furs and expensive perfumes–or for that matter, anything that we can’t afford to buy.

I suggested to my husband Bill that we ought to propose that no one should spend money buying gifts for Christmas.  Instead people should show their love by sharing their time and presence with others, like doing fun things with the children, helping a friend with a project, spending time with someone who is ill or sharing a meal with our elders. Or we could make   things that require using our time and imagination, or cook something special. The idea is that we should give the gift of our presence as a blessing to others.

Bill’s response is that we’d probably be assassinated for inciting such a radical idea that would wreck the economy of our country.

In spite of all of the commercialism, materialism and consumerism, I love Christmas.  I love Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas when the church anticipates both the birth and the return of Christ. And I love that the traditional lighting of the Advent candles begins with the candle of hope, which is what I think Christ’s coming was all about.

Wouldn’t it be great if we did away with the materialism that has become entrenched around the celebration of the birth of Christ and focused instead on how to live out God’s hope for the world?

Next week, I’ll share some information about real hope that I see happening, and some ways we can be a part of it.

My prayer for all of you reading this is that you will feel the presence of God’s hope in you and that you will share that hope with others during the Advent season.