Inviting you to a different kind of season

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

This week traditionally also kicks off the holiday spending season in the United States. Stores push their best Black Friday deals and encourage us to spend money on things we don’t need. They encourage us to buy their products so we can impress our friends, families, and neighbors with our ability to spot and pick out the “latest and greatest” gadgets and gifts.

Our purchases come at a cost on several levels:

  • There’s the price we actually pay, of course, in the form of dollars exchanged for goods and/or services.
  • Then there’s the emotional cost of financially overcommitting. Numerous scientific studies show that spending beyond our means results in significant stress and decreased emotional wellness.
  • And of course, we pay a human price when we overconsume cheap goods in the form of “best deals.”

Our “best deals” in the Western world are often produced in developing countries where the people who assemble the items we purchase are treated in ways that do not align with the Biblical mandate to care for the poor (Deuteronomy 24:14, Psalm 9:18, Proverbs 17:5, Matthew 25:35, Mark 12:40, among many others!).

When we choose to participate in consumer-driven and materialistic cultural rituals during the holidays, that leads us away from the original intention of the season. So here’s an invitation to consider this season from a different set of perspectives:

  1. This week, give thanks. Instead of planning your Black Friday shopping extravaganza, focus on the reason for tomorrow. We celebrate Thanksgiving to “give thanks” for all that is good in our lives.
  2. During Advent, wait. Culture tells us the season should be frantic and filled to the brim with all the stuff we can cram into it. A truly Christian countercultural experience of Advent involves taking steps to protect our hearts, schedules, and families from the typical crush of the season in favor of a season of waiting on Christ and remembering where our true hope lies. Not in more stuff or more commitments, but in Jesus.
  3. On Christmas, celebrate. The arrival of Jesus is a truly joyous moment of celebration! True celebration requires energy. How many parents out there make it to Christmas Day and can’t keep their eyes open long enough to watch the kids open presents? Often, this is because Christmas Day is the day that the crushing pace of the holiday schedule catches up. There is literally not enough energy left to make it through the day! Thinking about this is in advance, and choosing a different path, allows all of us to save time and energy for the day of celebration, so we can mean the songs we sing with JOY!
  4. When the New Year rolls around, start fresh. Scripture tells us that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). This is always true and we always have the ability to start refreshed and renewed. There does seem to be something special about the New Year. Take some time to pray through what God might have for you in 2018. Perhaps instead of attending many parties and gatherings, a better use of your time at the end of one year and the beginning of another might involve time for reflection and goal planning?

If any of the resonates with you, we’d love to hear from you! Please post a comment below and let us know what type of holiday season you’re anticipating. No matter what you choose, know that we’re praying for you during this holiday season – that you experience more of Christ’s goodness and grace!

Christa Cordova serves the Beautiful Savior community as ministry apprentice and occasional blogger (June 2017-March 2018). She anticipates completing her master of divinity degree at Fuller Seminary in June 2018.

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