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Plain and Simple for Dec. 6, 2012

SoVaNow.com / December 05, 2012
Are you fed up already with the commercialization of Christmas? I feel guilty because I have not yet bought anything for Christmas. What will Wal-Mart and Apple do without my money? It feels downright un-American to allow Black Thursday-Friday and Cyber-Monday pass without making the slightest effort to make a purchase. Shoot, I have not even put up any Christmas decorations. I guess that brings my Christianity into question.

Excuse me for being cynical but something is wrong when a baby who was born into abject poverty in the backwoods of an oppressed nation is celebrated with unabashed greed and wasteful spending. We have become enthralled with gadgets and luxuries that we deem necessary for life and have lost sight of those things that are truly important such as love, loyalty, and kindness. We pacify ourselves with the idea that God does not begrudge us the enjoyment of our money. That is true. Money is essentially neutral. But it speaks to the hollowness of our souls when we think that we can buy meaning in our lives with our possessions or buy love with our gifts. People are going to be happy or noble based on their character and relationship with God not based on how rich they are or how many possessions they have.

In this Christmas season, let me recommend a book for you; it will give you perspective and it will teach you a lesson. The book is Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. It tells the story of the extremely poor inhabitants of a slum in Mumbai, India. In reading this book, you will be reminded that most of us in America really have no conception of what poverty really is. Jesus came to proclaim release to the captives and Good News to the poor and we have no idea who they are.

The book also offers us some perspective. Sometimes we are tempted to portray the rich or the poor as noble simply because they are one way or the other. We are reminded that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. It really makes no difference whether we are rich or poor; we all need the grace of God. But we who have experienced the grace of God must share it. Would that not be a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas? Let’s give the Good News instead of an expensive gift. After all, it is a priceless gift.


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