I love Christmas, and I love all the trimmings that go with it. The music, the sparkling lights, the baking, the cooking, the eating and the parties. And the gifts. I so love to make and select gifts for my kids. But I don’t like the soldiers I have to deal with, or the war that ensues.
They are the foot soldiers of Kingdom Now. Their battalions of slickly printed catalogs first arrived in my mailbox, followed by an aerial advertising assault via the web, and enticing emails. I don't l ike the hard fought battle to make and stay within the safe confines of a budget. It is a battle to keep the holidays, holy days.
Kingdom Now soldiers, they tempt me to overspend, and to be self focused. They whisper that I can purchase the emotions and relationships I see displayed on the paid models in their advertising campaigns. They touch my heart, but what they are really reaching for is my wallet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love gift giving. There is nothing I love MORE than giving the right gift, and seeing the recipient light up. It’s better than chocolate. And bacon.
Since I carefully select my gifts, and I’m a frugal shopper, so it is not the advertisements themselves that annoy me. It is the underlying message, the blatant disregard for all things spiritual, the brash consumerism and envy baiting that abounds, that is what annoys me. They way they portray Christmas, as Christmuch. Very little about more of Christ, but very much about MORE stuff.
Kingdom Now soldiers; they don’t point me back to Kingdom Past, where my Creator came to dwell in the skin of a tiny baby, so that he could take my place on a cross. And Kingdom Now soldiers, they don’t point me to Kingdom Come, when I will lay down my own skin and make my way to an eternal destination.
Kingdom Now soldiers, they don’t remind me that Christmas could actually be called Christmess, because Christ came to save me in, and from, my mess.
So with the Advent, I’ll be reading with my family the story of Jesus, about the people he loved, the people he forgave, the people he came to save. And I’m going to tell them that they are in that long line of people. He came, for us. That is my first and best gift. To point them to the Nativity. And on to Easter. And on to Pentecost. And on to eternity with Him.
I'll sing "May your days be merry and bright" and I'll tell them that that He came through Mary, to make every dark place bright. I'll make our holiday cookies and bread with the kids, and we'll talk about the bread of life. I'll wrap gifts, and I'll talk about the gift of salvation He wants to unwrap inside of them. I'll help them choose gifts for each other, and I'll help them wrap their Christmas for Christ offering to plant churches in other cities. And together, we will make war on Kingdom Now mentality.
This Christmas, may the foot soldiers of Kingdom Now find a stunning defeat at the door of your heart. And mine. And may we all keep the holidays, holy days.