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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Soapbox

Ah winter is in the air... and along with it gluttonous consumerism and excessive political correctness. This year, not only do we have to hide baby Jesus and the camels, we really don't see candy canes or Santa Claus as much. Forget Christmas songs, we're not even teaching our kids holiday songs. I think that this Christmas season correct thing to say is, "happy winter." Lame.

But at the same time, if December 25 is just a day for giving our kids an XBOX 360 in addition to their Playstation 3, Wii, Gamecube, American Girl Doll, and 3 bushels of Legos, maybe Christmas isn't such a good idea after all. Go to any Kohls or Bed Bath and Beyond and you will see mountains of merchandise -- 87 different kinds of single cup coffee makers -- all expertly marketed so that we feel inadequate without them.

Even with all the baggage, Christmas is pure magic for most of us.

But Christmas can be a time of pain for so many. If you have the Internet and are able to read this, chances are you have at least a roof over your head and food to eat. But this Christmas there are millions and millions of people that don't have very basic necessities. Who is taking care of them? Who should be taking care of them?

Big nonprofit organizations, missions boards, sad little pink and blue flyers, and burnt church coffee all play their role in helping the less fortunate. But can we get a little more grassroots than that? Can we get a little more aggressive than that? Can we mount up and imagine for a second that we are going to punch hunger in the face?

You think that's intense, but in Isaiah when people are whining because they don't feel God has noticed them fasting, God describes what he wants like this,

to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Loose, Untie, Set Free, Break, those are all pretty intense words. And they are proactive. We are not supposed to make the poor and the broken come to us. We need to go to them.

This Christmas season, do something. Get a simple gift for someone you don't have to. Make a meal for someone. Find a low-key way to help a hurting person or family you know. Volunteer at a mission. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Get intense.


  1. Excellent! Amen! Spread the word, everyone who reads this.

  2. Love it! So true! I've been trying to teach my 2 year old these same things. The more you are exposed, the more aware you are!

  3. Amen, Josh! Now, how do I go about this in my real world? Our small group is supporting a needy single mom and her family for Christmas, but that seems almost like a cop-out sometimes, like, OK, I've done my duty, hands dusted off, going my way satisfied with myself. Yuck. I do want to be more proactive, more aware.