Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas and the Generosity of God

This Christmas season I have had more than a few conversations with Christians who are anti-Christmas. It is true, Christmas has become pretty twisted. It seems to have become a celebration of greed and over indulgence. People speak of how to deal with the stress of the season. There is so much obligation to give to the greedy and prepare for the over indulgent that the giver can become quite over whelmed. So to some the option is to well, skip Christmas.

Not me. I like Christmas. As for me and my household, we will celebrate Christmas. The question is with all the twisted nonsense of a world gone to Nordstrom’s, “how can we keep Christmas spiritual?”. The key is to stick to the theme.

Don’t Get All Holier than Thou About Christmas
Some in attempting to keep Christmas spiritual teach the moral lesson that it is better to give than to receive. Of course it is true that it is better to give than to receive. But this moral lesson is not the message of Christmas. Neither is the message of the cross that we ought to love our enemies. The cross is about God’s love and perfect atonement for our sin. So too, the theme of Christmas is that our God is a generous and gift-giving God. God gives good gifts to His children. He sees our need and he provides salvation and wisdom and friendship. On Christmas, we celebrate God’s extravagant generosity.

The moralizing crowd, that tries to focus on the better to give than to receive principle, focuses on charity on Christmas. They say, “we all have so much. How about giving to the needy on Christmas?” Nice thought, but to this I say, “The poor you have with you always. There are 364 days to give to the poor. Give to the poor on those days. But on Christmas celebrate God’s generosity. Celebrate the singing of the angels to the shepherds. Celebrate the satisfaction of Simeon and Anna. Party and give good gifts to your children. Put up decorations and lights and make festive. Drink a little wine and eat a feast, for God is good and generous and there is a time to celebrate His gift giving.

So tell your children and tell them often: “During Christmas, we celebrate God’s generosity to us. We give good gifts to our children because our God gives good gifts to His children. We honor God by being happy and enjoying ourselves. And we worry about the dishes and the credit card bill – tomorrow.”

Merry Christmas


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