Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Spirit

A very distinguished Christmas cookie
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. For some reason, the brightly colored lights, mountains of snow, warm hot cocoa and endless run of Christmas specials on cable TV brings a certain level of joy to my heart. I've always loved Christmas. Really, I've always loved everything about Christmas (except for Christmas cookies which I still don't get... they don't really taste all that good, they don't have coffee in them, and the frosting tastes like chalk). But this year it's been kind of difficult to "get in the mood".

Earlier this week a group of us sat and prayed at my church, repenting for our materialism and addiction to our own comfort. We begged God to let his kingdom come in our lives, in our city, in our world no matter what it cost us. We asked him to teach us to pray like Jesus prayed.

I guess more than anything, I'm conflicted about how much stuff I have. I haven't had to ask God for my daily bread since undergrad because I've always had so much. Even now, when people ask me "what I want for Christmas" I just see this image in the back of my mind of everyone around the world who has so little. Do I really need a "better" pair of shoes when kids in South Africa are playing soccer barefoot? Do I really need the latest Apple product when 80% of the world is living on less than a dollar a day? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

To quote David Platt, being a follower of Christ costs something but it also costs something not to follow him. As we hold on to the money and talents God has lent us, others are starving and hungry, dying and in desperate need of the crumbs we through away. 

Ironically, I love giving gifts probably more than the average person. And while I am hoping to become radically different in terms of the way I spend my time, money, and resources, I'm not advocating for the end of gift-giving. But if we're really going to grab hold of the Christmas Spirit, the gifts we give should be of eternal merit. If we're truly want to be like Him, we have to give like he gave.

And with all that being said, I do hope that you have a very Merry Christmas.

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