I feel like a nearly drove Mary over the edge this year. A lot had to do with the fact that by the end of November, I was feeling a deep sense of conviction with the whole Christmas thing. It started around Thanksgiving when we were buying the food for the feast. We were in the Wal-Mart parking lot and somebody was beeping their horn for some unknown reason and I began making up some song about consumerism to the tune of "Silver Bells." Mary started to call me Scrooge. I then started having flashbacks to a time in my childhood, when Dad would make remarks and Mom would get on his case by calling him Scrooge.
I tried to explain that Scrooge in "A Christmas Carole" didn't believe in Christmas. I believe in Christmas and Christ for that matter, but I feel that we are getting so far away from the meaning of what this time of the year is supposed to mean. As Rick McKinley, pastor at Imago Dei church in Portland, OR, said in one of his sermons, imagine you are at your birthday party and everyone is giving gifts to everyone else. As I listened to various sermons, from our local church to Mars Hill and Imago, the more I felt convicted.
It's not that giving is wrong, but with all of the money that we have here in the US, I think we still do a poor job at helping others in need, whether they be here or overseas. The commercialism and the consumer mentality of the season has been making me realize that our focus is on ourselves and not on who Christ said that we are to help: the poor, oppressed, widowed and orphaned. It is there in the Bible from the Old Testament to the New.
My biggest problem was that I felt that it would be nearly impossible to bring the family on board and I grew increasingly frustrated. Well, I came to terms with the conviction after talking with Mary several times. We are going to try and do something different for next year.
To see some ideas for next year check out the Advent Conspiracy page.