Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Cancer

It's back. The cancer returns every time this year. Some call it discontentment. Others call it snow. I call it Advent Season--the time of year when every retailer and non-profit begs for your money. Every friend and coworker petitions for your time. When our joys and longings should fix their gaze on the Christ Child, we're busy checking calendars, advertisments, and end-of-the-year donation boxes. 'Tis the season.

I need not prolong my rant. Others have chronicled how we've taken Christ out of Christmas and allowed the holiday to metastasize into a greedy, gloomy, malignant month. I'm not immune. My diet of ginger cookies, Lightening Deals, and mixed nuts is no different than the average American. My giving percentage (toot, toot) is probably better. It is noted, Christians (and religious people), on average, give more than non-Christians/religious (3% to 1.5% is the statistic I've heard).

But a generous tax-deductible roll does not immunize my lust for the latest gadget or my children from requesting American Girl doll accoutrements. In fact, they've each written a letter to Santa in the past week. I wrote mine a month ago. Greed is a genetic disease.

Allegedly, generosity is the antidote. Anyone who has braved a church or cathedral during Advent Season knows that it is better to give than receive. Jesus said so: verily, verily. Sadly, when we compress our generosity into one merry month, it feels forced, manufactured, and burdensome. Giving goes good with every season. When we distribute our charity and gift-giving throughout the year, the stench of obligation does not taint the offering. I'm convinced this is why people burn candles and cut down fir trees for Christmas: to mask the odor with artificial vanilla and actual balsam.

The cancer will return again next year. I offer no solutions; I make no resolutions. I'm just going to try and enjoy it. The greed and the snow cannot kill my joy. It's kept alive by Jesus.

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