Christmas is a magical time. For children (and some adults) the highlight is in getting a gift from someone that is something you want that you haven’t purchased beforehand.
Each year, as my siblings and I have pretty much grown up and left the house, we have been drawing names for each other. In the process, we’ve been trying to get some Savings—by getting gift cards to use towards after Christmas sales and making sure that it’s something that the person wants to receive. No one likes to get something only to have to pretend they like it. Or have we missed the point?
The Three Types of Christmas
This past Sunday my pastor spoke a message on the Three Types of Christmas:
- The Commercial Christmas
- The Cultural Christmas
- The Christian Christmas
His point is that while Christians can participate in all three of these types of Christmases, our focus needs to be on the third type—that Jesus came and died for us.
I’ve been really taken by this song from the group “Go Fish”—not that I think that all of their music is the best, but there are ones that they really hit you hard, and this is one:
Why Do You Give Gifts?
To me, it all boils down to the question of why we give gifts. If the whole point was some kind of extortion or money transfer at this time of year, they why not just send you cash?
To me, this seems to flip giving on its head. I mean, if the whole point was only giving someone what they wanted, why is it “more blessed to give then receive”? Why do we teach our kids to be grateful for whatever they get, and yet adults can tell other adults “just get me exactly what I want, or give me (basically) cash so I can get what I want”?
To me, we give gifts to remember the Gift that was given. Jesus obviously wasn’t the gift that the Israelites wanted. They wanted a Messiah to free them from Rome, not one to die for their sins.
What Did You Do?
So, I made a mess of Christmas this year. I told people to do whatever they wanted—give gifts, make gifts, or don’t do anything at all. “No obligations Christmas” I called it. Did I still make a wish list? Sure. But I’m not really pushing anything and I’m much more excited to see how the people react to the things that we’re giving than I am about anything I might get.
So, this Christmas—go out and buy what you can afford, think of others, and show God’s love. Practice a “No Obligations Christmas,” and see if that makes a difference.