Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year.
Our culture says that we can always find more time and more money, but the limits of time and space prove otherwise. This is the gospel of our nation’s idolatry: that we can “have it all.” In a culture that says “yes” to everything, sometimes it feels like religion is just about saying “no.” What a drag.
But we recognize that in saying “no” to some things, we make space for our God in the precious, limited time and material resources we have.
As I reflect on God emmanuel (God with us), I’m struck by the notion that even God experienced the difficulty of these limitations as an embodied human being. In being born, he faced the limits of life, and impending death, as we all do.
How is God prompting you to use your time and money this Christmas season? For some of us, we may find we are called to simply recognize our financial limitations. In doing so, we might remember that just being alive is a gift. We don’t in fact need to send out 400 Christmas cards, buy a holiday outfit, or a Christmas tree. We require nothing more than to be present to this truth every day.
For others we might find a prompting from the spirit to steward our resources in a way that honors Christ. While there is nothing, in my opinion, inherently wrong with indulging our children in their fantasy toy wish list, this giving is not to be confused with the giving that honors Christ.
In this spirit, I felt led to share this resource for buying gifts of olive oil that support the livelihood of Palestinian families in the holy land. https://www.canaanusa.com/meet-our-farmers-1.php While there are many worthwhile things to give to, this is what rose for me this year. The conflict in this region is on my mind because of its particularly brutal recent developments. While no war is more horrible than any other war, as a Christian I feel a special responsibility for and sadness about the Israel-Palestine conflict, as I remember my Jesus’ humble beginnings there as a stranger in Bethlehem. He came to proclaim peace for the world, and justice for the oppressed.
“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” Luke 2:12-14.
Contributed by Jade Souza, Reedwood Friends