I'm redefining the term "X
Used to be that it was shorthand for "Christmas," that blessed remembrance of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. "X" resembles the cross upon which Christ was crucified. (Very honorable for mere shorthand- which is notoriously lacking in couth- if you ask me.) So Xmas
became the fast way to still personalize all your holiday cards while keeping Christ the focus. Kinda.Henceforth, for me, Xmas is going to mean, "the thing we do on December 25th that has nothing to do with the Savior of the world, but has everything to do with going into debt so we can impress our co-workers and neighbors; buy our children's love; gain the admiration of our in-laws; and live the American dream- in which you CAN (and deserve to) have it all."
It's the "Sign your name by the X, please," kind of Xmas.
You don't need me to tell you that America is by far- BY FAR- one of the wealthiest countries in history. You don't need a guilt trip. America is, well, richer than snot. You may not feel so rich compared to the Paris' and Donald's in the U.S., but trust me, if you're not boiling grass for dinner tonight, you're doing better than a lot of other members of our planet.
I Corinthians 7:17, 23-24 says this:
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches...It begs the question- what situation has God called me to?
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.
Which leads to other questions-
Am I using credit to fund a lifestyle to which I have not been called?
Have I been trying to maintain the standard of living I enjoyed under Mommy and Daddy's roof as a child?
Am I attempting to keep up with the Joneses at church, the Joneses next door, the Joneses on TV, the Joneses in the mall...?
Has the Lord even assigned me the same station as the Joneses?
America, we are baaaaaad at this! Victims and perpetrators of the lie that next year's model is the only one worthy of our money. Credit is so easily obtained. Bad credit so hard to expunge. And with this millstone around our neck, we're drowning.
Simply because of what it does to my heart.
True Confession: I have realized that, as a Christian-of-a-certain -station-to-which-the-Lord-has-assigned-me, there are certain stores and parts of town that I have no business being in.
It shatters my contentment. Suddenly, I discover that the car I've been happily driving for 6 years is, like, so passe'
. And my shoes, well, they ought to have been outlawed long ago. My cell phone doesn't do text messaging? How on earth have I survived this long?!
Wohoa! Fifteen minutes ago I was as happy as a clam, and now I'm the pouty French fruit, Madame Blueberry. Can't find a cotton pickin' thing in my life to be grateful for. "Ah'm zo blue-hoo-hoo, blue-hoo-hoo, blue-hoo-hoo-HOO!"
How does all this relate to Xmas? (Psssst! It's coming up, you know.) 'Tis the season for catalogs, commercials, brochures and flyers. 'Tis the season for StuffMart, Wally World and Maison de Junque to send us valuable coupons
tucked inside festive seasonal cards. 'Tis the season when Zales, DeBoers, and Tiffany compete with Lexus, Lincoln and Humvee for your Xmas-y credit accounts.
Here's where I want to encourage a paradigm shift.
Is there some way that you and your family can make your holidays about CHRIST rather than about signing on the X of the charge card slip? To make it Christmas rather than Xmas?
Some ideas that our family has tried in recent past:
- Each person draws one different family member. Give that person a gift beginning with the first letter of their first name. $20 limit.
- Draw names for one family member. Any amount you would normally spend on a gift for that person, instead, send to a charity of their choosing. Compassion International
, Samaritan's Purse
, and Care Net
(or another local crisis pregnancy center) are good ones, to start with.
- Vote on a theme for the gift giving, then limit the price range to a v e r y low amount.
Last year, my family chose "bundle." This year our family will vote between, "handmade," "point," "around," "flimsy," and "season." (Yeah, totally
open to interpretation, but that's what makes Christmas morning so fun. We get to see how everyone interprets the theme. And because we only draw one
person's name, we don't spend the entire day watching the mountian of holiday wrap bulge the doors. We visit, and eat, and play games, and nap, and eat more, and laugh about how a coffee carafe can somehow be considered a "bundle.")
- Spend Christmas together as a family, in worship
! Remember as a group, the Word that became flesh. Contemplate together about what it means to have the King of the Universe squalling in the mud and the muck of our human gene pool. That means something. Profound.
Many of us have family members (or ourselves) who just plain like giving and getting gifts. It's our love language and we ain't giving it up. I'm not trying to rob you. Merely encouraging all of us to think outside the box (you know, the box shaped like a Super Target) this year. Could your "box" be the thrift store? Or the drug store? People on your gift list probably need
more deodorant and toothpaste anyway.
If you'll click on my MP3 player, you can hear Jerry Lewis singing of the festive Xmas season. (His voice is annoying, so you have to willingly press play if you wanna hear him. I'm not that Grinchy.)