Pulpit Reflections By Rev. Mercy Hobbs As Christians living in a society and world that is not Christ centered, we often find ourselves at odds with much that is happening around us. And there is probably no other time of year when we feel that tension more than we do now, as we are bombarded with messages that seek to carry us on a wild and frenzied joy ride towards Christmas.
There is not a day that goes by without commercials on TV and radio or in magazines or we open our mail box to yet another stack of Christmas catalogs. Much of what we see in this assault of para-psychology is designed to encourage, chide, tempt and lure us towards buying gifts that somehow equal love, the greater the gift the greater the love.
And if guilt is not our cup of tea, how about pride? That is only we give or receive this or that special gift then one can be healthier, happier or more desirable or knowledgeable or any other self improvement that either we or the advertising agencies can conjure up.
As Christians is there anything we can do, or are we merely victims of the season, trapped in the path of the Christmas train? Yes Virginia, there is! During my time at seminary, I came across a book that offers a host of suggestions that in spite of our secular surroundings will allow us to truly keep Christmas, not just in our hearts, but in our lives as well.
Unplug the Christmas Machine can help us to resist the tide of commercialization, and also reduce our stress as we prepare for the Christmas season. The book begins with the Christmas Pledge:
Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to:
* Remember those persons who truly need my gifts.
* Express my love in more direct ways than gifts.
* Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values.
* Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends.
* Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth.
The book continues through chapter after chapter of practical, realistic and affordable ways to help ourselves and our families, with suggestions that can save money, increase fun, decrease stress, raise our level of emotional involvement and strengthen our relationships. Most importantly, this book provides us with a place to begin to recapture the true spirit of Christmas that began with the priceless gift of a child born in Bethlehem.