Shopping for Christmas gifts sometimes gets a bad rap around churches. Now I’ll be the first to agree that we have put far too much emphasis on the giving and receiving of gifts that are attached with monetary value$ instead of eternal or sentimental values.
When I was a kid I heard the term “commercialism” thrown around about this time of the year and saw it portrayed through cartoons such as A Charlie Brown Christmas…
Then when I “grew up” and began serving in local church ministry, the term commercialism turned into the term “consumerism.” This term is used in our context for far more than the exchanging of too many Christmas presents. We also use the term to describe a culture that we live in, a consumeristic culture. This is a culture, like it or not, that shops for the best deals on just about everything – from gadgets, gizmos and gifts to churches, schools and even relationships.
I’m not on my pedestal here, for I too am a consumer. Being a consumer in and of itself isn’t wrong.
We consume. We eat, we drink, we burn fuel to stay warm, we cut down trees to build houses. Our survival is based on consumption. It’s a fact of life and God made it that way..
Its over-consumption that leads us to something very dangerous. When a spirit of “feeding our obesity,” metaphorically speaking (i.e., materialism, spiritual gluttony, corruption and injustice, etc), replaces a spirit of others-centeredness and generosity.
After all, isn’t this a season where the “spirit of generosity” is elevated to status quo?
I read a news story today that reminded me that not all consumerism is bad. Take some time and check it out. Anonymous Donors Pay Off Kmart Layaways
So here’s my big question for all of us…
Q) Is there a place where rather than attempting to rid ourselves of everything that even hints to consumerism we could redefine what these ideals look like in our lives?
A) Yes. You define it…
And let’s carry these new ideals over into the rest of the year rather than just remembering that this is “good stuff” just around Christmas..
[disclosure: any post in the category of "rumination" isn't going to be the normal 200-250 word post. By definition I am forced to write a lengthy blog post about the topic of discussion. I am now over 400 words. I did it...]