Thursday, December 31, 2009

Do you hate Christmas?

I realised that many Christians hate Christmas. Here are some of the reasons:
  1. The commercialism feels too hard to fight.
  2. Gift-giving often functions self-centeredly. People give to not be shamed rather than generosity.
  3. We watch our Christian brothers and sisters get sucked into this world shamelessly.
  4. Families become such a power over people they act in ways they’d otherwise not.
  5. Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed – although I was secretly impressed by my families this year.
  6. People write off our faith as cute, cuddly, and irrelevant.
  7. Our pastors preach to us as if we are non-Christians (TWTL).
  8. ...

I’ve been thinking long and hard how to not hate Christmas. For many years I have ignored Christmas only surfacing for the day to remember Jesus birth thinking that was the godly thing. A couple years I even took a shift on Christmas day to avoid it. Being married to a non-ministry family where Christian festivals are not work days has slowly challenged me.

I preached on the first Sunday in advent on Jesus 2nd coming (advent). I realised that Christians are people of patient endurance. It is in the midst of waiting that peace, joy, hope, and love come. Surely advent reminds us of waiting for the saviour. During this season we focus on the beginning of Matthew or Luke – the waiting passages. The Christmas season is Christian not just Christmas, although we forget.

I found that patience enabled me to be joyful this Christmas – through crowds, repetitive music, pushy drivers, petulant family, etc – and I celebrated Jesus the saviour in this world, not closeted in a grotto or with my head in the sand.

Bara Din Mabarak Ho (as the say in Pakistan)

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