Red White Gift Box Presents Christmas Social Media Graphic 3

Happy Christmas

At Christmas we think a lot about gifts. If we have the time and money, we can enjoy carefully selecting things and giving them as presents to family and friends. It can be a joy to watch a loved one unwrap a well-chosen gift, something that is exactly what they wanted and hoped for. The delight on their face can warm our hearts.

However, for many, Christmas is a pressure rather than a delight. There is little money or time. Gifts cannot be carefully chosen. There simply isn’t the finance to purchase things that are wanted or hoped for. Instead of joy, Christmas can bring a tinge of guilt or sadness.

The media ramps up our expectations with their image of the perfect Christmas. Often it is set in a dining room with all the family gathered around the table, an abundance of food, drink, and laughter. The room is warm and well lit. The people are beautiful. Everyone is immaculately dressed. All is harmony and happiness.

Christmas can so easily become a competition. We measure its success by how well it matches up to the illusion.

Strangely, the Jesus we celebrate at Christmas distances himself from all material possessions. He sees loving God the Father as his greatest fulfilment. His life is spent in giving his time, his energy, his whole life for others. By means of his generous spirit, he makes visible the generosity of God.

Jesus has special affection for the poor, the sick and the outsider, while the rich he repeatedly warns about the dangers of wealth: “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). His disciples relinquish their possessions and leave everything to follow him. The early church choses to live in community and have all things in common. ‘They would sell their possessions and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need’ (Acts 2:44-45). For them the priority was not having possessions, but placing others needs before their own.

I love celebrating Christmas with all the traditions. I especially love the custom of giving and receiving gifts. However, if Jesus were to come to our house this Christmas, I think we might do things slightly differently. Perhaps it’s time to make some changes.