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.