Friday, December 4, 2009

C is for Christmas

      I seem really bah humbug about Christmas this year. I keep thinking there must be something wrong with me, and it might be partly true... but I don't know, I just don't know how to rationalize buying things for people when we don't need anything. I hardly even want anything. Of course part of me wants a lot of things, like new clothes, shoes, etc., but I don't need any of those things.

      I am starting to appreciate the pretty decorations,and I enjoy the holiday movies. But you know what is really weird... I was thinking the other day about how we say "Happy Holidays" so that we don't offend people of other religions, and I'm cool with that. But then I thought, why are we putting up a tree at Tabor if we are trying not to be biased toward Christianity. And therein lies the problem! A second later, I realized that, duh, celebrating Christ's birth at Christmas time has nothing to do with putting up a tree. The two are not related. So Tabor putting up a tree doesn't say anything about us favoring Christianity (though it does show we are not endorsing Hanukkah or Kwanzaa).

      So this is why I'm kind of bah humbug. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with us enjoying our Christmas music, egg nog, tree decorating, shopping... but if we are equating those things with celebrating Christ's birth, then it is wrong. What's great about all the holiday decorating and such is that you get to do it with your family, and spending time with your family is a great way to worship God. And I don't know, I just don't even remember the last time my family spend time decorating together. My dad decorates the tree by himself because he wants it to look perfect. No homemade ornaments. We don't read The Night Before Christmas. I stopped believing in Santa when I was 6 years old. I started a club in 1st grade for kids who didn't believe in Santa and got in BIG trouble with my teacher (because most 6 year olds believe in Santa!).

      It's no wonder that I'm disillusioned and not all that thrilled about Christmas if all my experiences show Christmas to be about gifts. But knowing Christ and celebrating His birth is what I am most interested in. And I don't feel like God wants me to use my resources to buy gifts that people don't need. It's not spiritually healthy to encourage materialism, and it's not environmentally healthy to create more waste. But I do know that giving is important. I wish we could give to someone else, as a family. Volunteer together or donate our money to something that will offer something greater, something more in need to others. At Tabor, the case workers have clients who keep their heat at 55 degress so they can afford food, people who don't have beds, people who can't afford diapers for their babies. How can I celebrate Christ's birth in light of this? Where do I go from there?

      I read that your Christmas budget should be no more than 1.5% of your annual income. Which for me is about $150. So the question is how can I worship God with this $150? How can I worship Him with the few days that we are given to spend with family? I don't know.