By Pastor John Hulden

It’s Cyber Monday! I’m writing a blog instead of Christmas shopping online. You are welcome. We are also approaching the First Sunday in Advent.

Sheesh, it’s either really hard or an amazing opportunity for us church-y folk during this time of Advent-waiting and Christmas-shopping. Although being counter-cultural is not easy, it sure isn’t difficult to get on a soapbox or hop on our high horse or climb into a pulpit and rip into all the craziness of the holiday-shopping craze. I know I don’t have all the answers on how to really put Christ back into Christmas. (And I’m guessing I wouldn’t see eye-to-eye with the folks who sell those bumper stickers either. But I’m just guessing.)

“Did you know TVs are really cheap on and around Black Friday?”

Here’s my confession: Did you know TVs are really cheap on and around Black Friday? I got a Black Friday TV for my birthday last Friday. (Yes, Black Friday landed on my birthday this year.) I’m feeling a little guilty, but my family reminds me — it was a gift! Plus, it is supposed to have a really clear picture, and the outside of the box says it is a “smart” TV. That’s good, isn’t it?


SOME PREACHER SOMEWHERE, probably many years ago, tried to make a comparison between Santa Claus and Jesus. It didn’t work for me. I suppose it was a noble attempt to draw a clear line between crass-commercialization and the platitudes of the beatitudes. (Shoot, I just looked up the definition of “platitudes” — not the right word for the beautiful and powerful beatitudes — but it rhymed so well.)

Here’s my attempt at a better comparison during these paradoxical weeks leading up to the Festival of the Incarnation.

                                                                                          Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick                 vs.                     John the Baptizer                                         

  • They both live far away from everyone       North Pole                                                                in the remote wilderness
  • They both have a unique outfit                       red suit, big black belt                                           camelhair coat, leather belt
  • Crowds gather                                                    at parties, the mall, and parades                         at the river way out of town
  • Their message                                                     asks who’s naughty or nice                                   tells everyone they’re straight-out naughty
  • Their unique diet                                                cookie and milk, then up the chimney               grasshoppers dipped in honey
  • They point to                                                                ???                                                                     Jesus

Blessings to you as you navigate Advent and the inescapable Pre-Christmas Hoopla. I’ll do my best to muddle through, but I do know I plan on finding a midweek evening Advent vespers service.

Happy Blessed Advent.