My disgust with the commercialism of Christmas grows each year. The retailers put up their displays of holiday decorations and gifts earlier and earlier each year. The advertisements glorify the exchange of goods as what makes a great Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind getting presents, but is a Christmas ushered in by people getting trampled at the store (alternatively: Google News Search) on the Friday after Thanksgiving what we want?

I know it's not what I want, and I believe it's not want Jesus wants. First, let's look at the name of the holiday we are supposedly celebrating: Christmas. That's correct, the first five letters are Christ, from the Greek word Christos, meaning anointed one. I highly doubt we are anointing one another with oil on Christmas, so it must refer to someone else. Specifically, it refers to the One who Peter called "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:13-16). So if the holiday (which I might add comes from holy day) is about Christ, the Son of the Living God, why are we getting the gifts? Furthermore, Jesus taught us to "love your neighbors as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). Put yourself in the shoes of the person that was trampled: do you like it there laying on the cold, hard floor hurting and embarrassed? If you answered that you wouldn't like it, then why treat someone else that way just to get a good deal on that "perfect" gift?

Speaking of gifts, even the "perfect" gift made, sold, and bought with human hands will be destroyed or stolen. Do you remember every Christmas gift you received? Possibly. Do you have every Christmas present you received? Of course not, unless you're an extremely precocious toddler reading my blog. Things tarnish, rot, stop working, etc.: in other words, things are temporary. However, we are told of a gift in the Old Testament book of Isaiah:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah clarifies the prophesy with this: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." These predictions came to pass in the small town of Bethlehem, when Joseph took Mary, his fiancee, to register for the Roman census that Augustus called, and while she was there, she gave birth to her first son, Jesus of Nazareth, also known as Jesus Christ. It's his birth that Christmas celebrates, and therefore, I pray that we celebrate it in a more Christ-like manner.

If you don't know why the child was a gift, please feel free to contact me at JackWolfgang (at) (remove the spaces and change the (at) to @) because I will be happy to discuss it. Alternatively, you can visit this excellent site.

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Edit (03 December 2008): Fixed grammatical error as I revisited the post after history repeats itself on Black Friday 2008. Lord, help us sinners to see You as something to be lusted after instead of all this stuff.