Summary: I don’t think any of us are really ready to give up the traditions of this holiday season. So why not think about what we love about this time of the year? (Based on an article by Rev. Thomas Shepherd) ________________________________________
How do you like this time of the year? Shopping center parking lots clogged with car headlights like a starry night sky in the country. Mindless, but welcoming music drifting over hordes of harried, hopeful, hesitantly happy holiday hunters. Shop ’til you’re top-heavy, arms full of packages, box-crammed plastic bags dangling from every finger.
Sure, it’s an ordeal. Sure, I procrastinate every year. Even worse am I procrastinating this year than ever before. Too much to do—so little time. Sure, I spend in December, then spend January through October paying off the credit cards. (Sure, I talk to myself like a pit bull puppy at obedience school: Bad boy, bad United Methodist minister--shame on you!) But I don’t care. No joke! I don’t care!
While I may have railed against the materialism and commercialism of Christmas in past sermons and maybe it might help your conscience if I were to do so today—instead I want to see the lighter side of this time of the year. After all we keep engaging in its customs every year. I don’t think any of us are really ready to give up the traditions of this holiday season. So why not think about what we love about this time of the year?
City sidewalk, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style.
In the air there’s
A feeling of Christmas.
Children laughing, people passing,
Meeting smile after smile,
And on every street corner you’ll hear:
Silver bells, silver bells,
It’s Christmas time in the city.
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring,
Soon it will be Christmas day.
I love many of the annual playful, over-rated, superficial, commercialized hollow holiday rituals like Jesus must have loved little children and the first sunshine on Easter morning. For three reasons. Three reasons why I love the commercialism of Christmas.
1) Christmas gives us an excuse to move closer to one another. Man shall not life by bread alone; good relationships are of utmost importance and this season reminds us of this.
A few years ago, Winona Ryder was sentenced to community service and a fine for shoplifting. Her problems didn’t start there. Listen to what she says about her early life and the need for healthier relationships:
"When I was 18, I was driving around at two in the morning, completely crying and alone and scared. I drove by this magazine stand that had this Rolling Stone that I was on the cover of, and it said, ’Winona Ryder: The Luckiest Girl in the World.’ And there I was feeling more alone than I ever had."
Christmas crowds us, badgers us, makes us open our sacks and hand tokens of love to people we spend too much time avoiding. Christmas makes us vulnerable, duty-bound to honor the possible...we could possibly be friends...we could possibly work together without in-fighting or envy...we could possibly get along, maybe even like each other.
Oh, of course, our cynical patterns of mistaken thought patterns try to tell us it won’t happen. But for one brief shining moment, we allow ourselves to pretend it is all so...possible.
That’s the first reason why I love the commercialism of Christmas—it gives us an excuse to move closer to one another. The next reason: