It keeps reverberating in my head, Pastor Bruce’s question in his first Advent sermon this year, “How do you keep materialism out of Christmas?”
We went Black Friday shopping as an extended family outing. It did not bode well for my first-grader. She kept wanting everything and we (my husband and I) kept saying, “Well, Christmas isn’t far away. We’ll add it to your list. You can’t have that (or that, or that or that) today.” Toward the end of the outing, she was moping alongside her shopping grandma when she said, “I just see all this stuff and I want it all. I know I shouldn’t feel that way.” Christmas in America creates a mentality of materialism.
Along with materialism, how do we not get caught up in the chaotic preparations for celebrating? As Christ-followers, how do we remember to dwell with Jesus, the “Christ” in Christmas?
Visiting with Joanne Van Overbeke after church last Sunday, she shared her experience of being miserably sick with the flu last Christmas. She expressed that all the things she had to do went undone and Christmas still happened. And she still experienced joy.
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ “ Isaiah 30:15
In this verse, we see how we might save Christmas from materialism and chaos. By sitting, with coffee cup and Bible in hand, resting in Jesus. In stopping daily to confess my mess-ups to Jesus. Driving in silence; talking and listening to God instead of the radio. In making a to-do-list but verbally telling God that I trust He will allow me to accomplish exactly what He desires for this day. By prioritizing Jesus, not things, stuff, events or my infamous “to do list.” (Someone please tell me I’m not alone with my lists…) By choosing to stop your family once a day and read an Advent devotional (or any Scripture). Through our example, those in our sphere of influence (family, friends and neighbors) will see the the Christ in Christmas, not the materialism or busyness.