Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is Christmas about compassion or consumerism?

Yesterday we went shopping. In our defense we started out shopping for children off of the Angel Tree at church, but as often is the case, included shopping for our own kids, as well as for ourselves. As we walked through aisles and aisles of plastic crap, the weight of Christmas consumerism was overwhelming.
This year we made the decision to match what we spend on our family with spending on others. That feels like a start, maybe start that will move from 50/50, to 30/70, and eventually 10/90.
Some relatives ask me what the girls need/want for Christmas, and my mind is blank. There is really nothing more that they need, but I can think of a lot other people who do have needs.

Today I read about the Advent Conspiracy, is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption. They point out that Christmas, at its core, is about changing the world, not about buying more and more things.

It's one thing to celebrate the festivities of this winter holiday, to go and look at lights, to cut down a tree, to decorate the house...but it's another thing to continue to worship this false god of consumerism. As we study Colossians at Community, and as I talk to students and hear from them how tight of a grip consumerism has over them, I worry about using this day recognized as the birth of our revolutionary Jesus, to fuel the fire of the adversary.

Now...back to Christmas shopping.

Update: Lisa asked me to elaborate as to what I mean by 50/50
For every dollar that we spend on someone that we know, we aim to spend a dollar on someone with needs who we don't know. Orphans, kids whose parents are in jail, children of migrant workers, etc. The idea is that however much money we spend on our own family/friends, we also spend on "the least of these."