Mammon, the deceptive demon of wealth, has poisoned the church so that rich Christians thrive in luxury and superfluities while the poor starve and suffer. 50 000 people die because of poverty every day, while 20% of the world’s population consume 80% of the world’s resources. The biggest consumption feast of them all is Jesus’ birthday, and this has escalated massively during the last 50 years so that we now here in Sweden spend twice as much money on Christmas shopping than we give in Official Development Aid to developing countries. Then we complain about how we can’t help the homeless or receive immigrants since we’ve ran out of money.
Christians are like boiling frogs who are slowly killing their radical spirit when following the ungodly trends of the world. They are like dead fish, following the dark stream of environmental destruction and idolatrous tradition. And so they eat more meat, buy more expensive presents and spend more time and energy on pointless secular rituals, and while they hate to engage in biblical practices like fasting or street evangelism, they have no problems with putting a pointless tree in their living room or buying video games for their kids. Jesus called us to sell our stuff and give the money to the poor. On Christmas, we use our money to buy stuff to give to the rich.
Yesterday I posted this video, called “Stop Celebrating Christmas“. We have to stop this harmful and ungodly consumption feast that has replaced any decent remembrance of the birth of the Son of God. To modify the traditional Christmas celebration isn’t enough, then we risk to fall back to the old destructive wheel-tracks. No, we need to envision a radically different Christmas celebration, a simple, miraculous, worship-centred celebration. This is what it could look like:
Instead of eating expensive, fat, meat rich food that destroys the climate and your body, try to eat as simple as possible – bread, water and dried fruit – praying for the hungry in the world. Donate food to the poor in your area. Visit them, and let your children see the true face of poverty and suffering, so you can teach them godliness and simplicity.
Instead of buying luxury, entertainment and beauty products to people who already have everything, give as much as you can to missions and global development, and let your while family celebrate with you on Christmas day as you read reports such as this one about what your gifts do around the world. Share love, joy and community, not unnecessary stuff, with each other.
Instead of decorating your house with santas, reindeers and a tree, make simple wooden crosses and focus the Holiday on Him whose birthday we celebrate. Pray for angelic visitations, prophetic messages for the coming year and healing. Let Christmas be miraculous not in an allegorical sense but in a physical one, take the opportunity to pay for signs and wonders both at home and on the streets. Preach the Gospel and sing Christmas carols out in the public spaces.
If we say “both ways of celebrating Christmas are OK”, we are accepting the unacceptable status quo – that Christians joyfully destroy the environment and promoted inequality to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. No, we must agree that Simple Christmas is the only way forward, and not accept anything less.
For once I don’t fully agree with you. 🙂 There are alternative ways that is both fun and can be attractive to people in general (remember they told us to make people think our ideas are actually nice, and not torture, in the first place).
As an (obviously not perfect) example:
We (read my mother and I) celebrate Christmas as an extended birthday. If we celebrate each others birthdays, we do so for Jesus so much more. Perhaps I will write a blog post how we do this, but for now: its a feast that’s Jesus-centered – anticipation begins at least a month before with old and home-made Christmasdecorations and greens from forest floor (no real tree-cutting here) appearing around the house bit by bit, with Christmas music, and by attending church in Advent-time.
On Christmas Eve we will decorate our home-altar with fairtrade-roses, fast from food and water till dark, sing Jesus-songs by the fire, go to Church, cook a vegetarian meal that’s 90 or so percent organically grown and which we present to Jesus before eating, watch the movie The Nativity (and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAsqO_g7pCM is a must too, a modern Christmas Robin Hood story) and attend midnight mass, etc etc. We give each other a few meaningful presents to commemorate the joy, like fair-trade coffein-free chocolate and tea, something handmade and something useful etc (from this year not wrapped in paper but in a personal reusable gift-cloth-bag), while giving aid to the poor as well.
In short: Jesus is worth a splendid birthday celebration!
The only thing I miss is sharing this beautiful time with more people, wanting to be a minister so I can do that more easily. My dream is to arrange Christmas-retreats with simple feast-food and much prayer.
Will you really celebrate on bread and water and dried fruits? Or do you say that as an example only?
Peace / suri
I’m afraid dear Suri that we do not disagree. Your and your mother’s Christmas celebration sounds awesome – the focus on worship, the fasting, the vegetarian organic Fairtrade meal, that’s what I’m talking about! The reason I recommended bread, water and dried fruit was to get away from the ideal that a Christmas dinner must contain lots of meat and expensive stuff to be a Christmas dinner – so that an “alternative” Christmas merely means replacing the ham with pineapples and then continue with business as usual. There’s no need to just eat bread unless one is always restricting oneself to that. As long as we don’t overeat ourselves or destroying the environment and its animals, we can celebrate a simple, worship-centred Christmas.
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