Materialism and charity are a strange mix during the holidays. We expect gifts during this time of year. At the same time, we are celebrating the best gift we have ever received, our Savior.
I know many families who put themselves in severe debt to put more presents under the tree for their children. Ringing up credit cards and borrowing to ensure the best Christmas.
I’ve even been guilty of this. What are we truly giving our children by going into debt? Worse yet, what are we showing them about accumulating more stuff?
I call it the “Santa Cost.”
For most children, Santa Claus is the excitement of the holidays. They put their hope in him to make their gift dreams come true.
The truth is sometimes we get lost in this. We forget that presents have nothing to do with Christmas. God blessed us with His one and only child so that we can be forgiven. His sacrifice can be as lost to us as socks underneath a mountain of wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
This year, we are going back to what we did a couple of years ago. Our children’s present is a family vacation. Time together is a great alternative to more stuff that will clutter your kids’ rooms. I cannot even remember the gifts they received last year. Sadly, I am fairly sure they cannot either.
The “Santa Cost” is stress. So many friends have come to me saying how stressful this time of year is for them and how they feel overwhelmed by the money they are going to spend.
We should be excited about the birth of Christ, not stressed about a day we honor him. We should be helping each other and spending time thinking about ways to make others lives bright and full of joy. Instead, we maul each other on sale days. Our greed will destroy Christmas.
Charity can sometimes seem like a thing to mark off your to-do list this time of year. But, it should be something we do with a grateful and happy heart. I hear people complain about the amount of “charity” they have to do. It is almost an empty job to us at times.
Empty is how I began to feel this year thinking about all that is going on around me. I began to feel the “Holiday Blues”. Something I had never felt before. I hate to admit I’ve been more of a Grinch this season than not. Then it occurred to me that I feel empty because materialism makes us feel that way. Our hearts will never be full from objects; only God can fill them.
Recently, a friend told me about how they just bought presents that were cheap and that would fall apart from a local discount store just to ensure bulk under the tree. The bulk may be there but the meaning is lost when we fill our lives and selves up with junk.
What if our children did not expect this? What if Christmas was meant to be a celebration of family and the things that will truly matter in the years to come, such as our relationship with Christ, not our relationship with a man who is imaginary and puts stress on us? I bet our children would not be filled with disappointment, yet filled with more happiness.
I think the “Santa Cost” is costing us more than money; it is costing us our meaning. Jesus is the reason for the celebration yet again He gets lost in the shuffle of the season.
How do you create a meaningful holiday?