IS NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY!
It is October 12 and I am on my way to the local
mall to purchase a new carry-on bag. The wheels are worn off of the one
I have been using for the last eight years. I am scanning the radio
channels and notice that one station has already switched to a
twenty-four-hour Christmas-music format. Bruce Springsteen is singing
familiar reminders about Santa Claus seeing you "when you are sleeping"
and knowing "when you are awake."
My mother used such reminders as part of some
behavioral modification strategy leading up to the Christmas season
every year. She knew how much we kids anticipated the Sears and Roebuck
Christmas catalogue each September. Children of my generation, the baby
boomers, would study its toy pages daily, like racetrack junkies
studying betting odds, circling and prioritizing the desired
commodities in hopes of a Christmas Day payoff.
Christmas was like a second birthday but a much
bigger and better deal! Mom’s reminder was clear: I’d better be good or
I would get a lump of coal in my stocking instead of the new Red Ryder
BB gun that I was willing to trade my little sister for. (Apparently,
the reminders worked, because I did get my Red Ryder that Christmas.
No, I didn’t shoot my eye out, but I did ricochet a BB off my forehead
once while target shooting in our basement.)
As we grow older, our desired gifts become more
sophisticated. Playskool toys no longer suffice; now the demand is for
the expensive "new, slimmer" PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, the
idolatrous promise of the desired object to bring us life-fulfillment
and meaning is never realized. The newness eventually wears off and we
seek the next new, best thing. We are hypnotically lured by the
seductive marking sirens of mindless consumption: "you have the power
to make the video-game player on your list very merry this holiday
season with a cool new console … the best gift of the season!"
By buying into these false promises of secular
consumerism, however, we continue to feed our children’s materialistic
According to the National Retail Federation, as of
2010, adult consumers spent an average of $830 each on holiday food,
decorations, and presents. In a two-parent family, that equates to
roughly $1,660. Now add this cost to the average American household
credit card balance of $15,788 with an annual percentage rate of 14.67.
Christmas has been hijacked and exploited. We have
professed allegiance to Jesus but celebrate his birth with an orgy of
Christmas is not your birthday, it’s Jesus’
See all of the December Newsletter
2013 Calendar Highlights
Growing Friends Preschool
December 13, 14, 15
Christmas Eve Services
John Wesley Covenant Service
8:15 & 10:45am, Dec 29th
See the December Calendar here