Holidays or Holy Days?

What do you do when all the turkey’s gone and the dressing is just a faint memory exemplified by some solitary crumbs scattered across the pan? What happens when you wake up and Black Friday has become an even blacker Saturday and Cyber Monday turns into penniless Tuesday? The holidays have become a mind numbing scramble for what can I get and how much. The motto for many during this season is: Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the lid, and poison the rest. Sadly, the holidays have degenerated into a selfish materialism ruled by the terrible triplets Me, My, and I.

What do you do when the holidays become horror days rather than holy days? Thanksgiving was once a day of sharing the bounty of God’s blessings, and Christmas, a birthday celebration for the greatest gift ever given. Not the mindless grabbing and snatching at 3 am in the morning in the dim glow of a blue light special or in the rush of pushing and shoving to get that early bird special on sale. Will you even remember what you bought on January 1 when the credit card bill comes; or even worse, will you even know where you put it?

The original intent of holy days was to celebrate the gifts of God and His magnificent grace shared with those who had nothing and absolutely no hope of ever having anything. God gave…and gave…and gave. Something is terribly wrong with this picture if we are called to imitate Him (make no mistake we are), and all we do is take…and take…and take some more. Consuming, but never giving; blind to the needs of those around us, but stuffed, bloated, and selfishly addicted to our own selves.

There is a better choice—a far nobler pursuit available, but it will mean the tenacious application of what many consider a dirty word—“no.” There. I’ve said it; and you’re probably in shock that a pastor would say such a thing! Surely you don’t mean that I should tell me, myself, and I no. Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. To borrow a slogan of another day and another cause…just say no!

Take the two hundred dollars you would have wasted on another mindless video game for the kids and buy some groceries for a family that’s struggling. That money you would have spent on a top-of-the-line battery powered drill that would have looked so good in your tool box—spend it on soap, socks, and coats, and drop it off at the local homeless shelter. Instead of wasting your money on a designer handbag and matching shoes that will not be in vogue next season, invest in the life of a family that will have nothing for Christmas.

The rush of the holidays will come to a screeching halt, and the joy of the holy days will return when imitating Jesus becomes more important than entertaining ourselves. Remember, Jesus did not come to be served, but to seek, to serve, and save those who are lost. I know, I know—you’ve been standing in line a long time, awaiting your opportunity to give this glitzy department store money you don’t have for something you don’t really need. Step out of line and allow that person behind you to take your place and then take that fist full of dollars, open your eyes wide, look around, ask God what He wants to do with the money He has entrusted to your care, and then give it away.