Should I dress like the magi, the shepherds, the angels, or the child?

December 25, 2011

Pope Laments Christmas Consumerism, Urges People To Look Beyond ‘Superficial Glitter’

That was the headline describing the Pope’s Christmas Eve message.  And I agree with the sentiment.  Diane and I have not exchanged “big” gifts for years.  Often we have forgone our Christmas so we could give to others.  I am not saying that to brag, I actually like to give (and get) extravagant presents.  It has been a thirty-five year struggle for us to find the right balance.  In fact, I think the only time we have gotten it right is when we had no choice.  If you have nothing to spend it is easier to have a simple Christmas.

So the next few words are spoken only because this has been an ongoing struggle, or at least an ongoing conversation, as consumerism and generosity merge in a spending frenzy one year, and a simple bowl of home-made soup and Christmas music plays on the radio another.  I don’t have it all figured out.  I don’t have the proper balance in y life on this issue.

Having said that, I ask you to take a look at the photo of the Pope.  Nice hat.  What’s with the speech about getting rid of the glitter when you’re dressed like that?  How can we decry consumerism from behind the wheel of our Bently?   How can we preach about the glitter of “this world” when wearing a hat like that, preaching in a church like that?

I guess the Pope is waging the same internal war that I am.

And I guess the lesson I learned from this thought process is, If I am going to talk the talk, I had better walk the walk. 

I would love to hear how you broach this subject in your home.  I would love to hear from my Catholic friends  too, even though I have probably just offended some of you.


One Response to “Should I dress like the magi, the shepherds, the angels, or the child?”

  1. Sue said

    Several years ago, my Pastor mentioned to me in a passing conversation that his college aged daughter struggled with the wealth of the suburban church (the one he pastored), and the needs of a hurting world just miles away in a poverty stricken city. Her solution was to move to the hurting neighborhood to establish a ministry that brings God’s grace and the resources of the said church, and many like it, to the hurting people in her ministry. In my home, we have many fine things (like running clean water, food in the fridge, warmth and security). We are also very fortunate to have a good church which teaches generosity year round and gives to many in need. Still, in my home, we fall short in our giving. Maybe, the message of the Pope is that no matter what kind of hat we are wearing or where we preach or work, or live, we can do more to give to those who need. I think in my home, for the new year, we will talk about making the kind of difference my pastor’s daughter has, and take some steps to move closer to her kind of unselfish generosity. In my experience, it’s been a journey and the journey’s not finished yet, so we are cheered to keep growing upward and onward. Grace and Peace!

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