I heard something interesting in the news today.
China has banned Christmas
Is that even possible? Banning Christmas? Well, this country has certainly defied the norm and banned Christmas. As a Christian, I should shout but in reality, I am not sure that I disagree.
Ever since I arrived the shores of obodo oyibo, Christmas has appeared to have more to do with Santa than Jesus. I have listened and watched the media gear up for Christmas from as early as October. Children are encouraged to be at their best behaviour so that come December the 25th, Santa Claus would visit the bottom of their Christmas trees where he would deposit presents to reward their behaviour.
In fact there is even a big hullabaloo about sighting this Santa Claus fellow on the Christmas eve in the sky. That is made possible by a pre-arranged gimmick by the National space agency (NASA) to convince children about the reality of a man that only exists in our imagination.
In my eyes all I can see and hear beneath all these is not evil but capitalism. Driving sales and profits being the main rationale for the season. You can see how much easier it is for these clever people to achieve their numbers just by focusing all their campaigns on something as popular as Christmas. Therefore, the big companies cash in on the idea. They offer sales, low prices, stock clear-outs and you name it just to make their balance sheets look sparkly for the end of what happens to be most of their financial years’.
It is not actually a bad thing per se. We do live in a society that needs to be viable. Low sales, low profits means that businesses slowly die off. That leads to a chain reaction of events including unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness. Next comes crime and problems because people have to survive somehow. The social system of benefits may pick up some of the tabs but with no income coming in, it too will crash. So yes, sales are very good and a positive step towards economic sustainability.
However what we need as Christians is to redirect the focus of Christmas. The motive behind an action determines how we judge it. So basically, we can both be doing the same thing but if we have two different reasons for doing it, we will judge the outcomes differently. Rather than drive Christmas towards Mr Clause and focus it on capitalism and materialism, we can redirect the focus to be on Christian values that are focused around Jesus Christ. Love, giving, kindness, compassion and so on can be the renewed purpose for patronising these merchants.
As Christian parents we must strive to pull our children towards the true Christmas spirit.
Or else, what will we be teaching our children?
That Christmas is a time of receiving, writing lists, making demands and making endless demands on our overstretched resources. We will be teaching them about filling the Christmas trees with things that we do not really need while we miss the opportunity to teach them to be prudent and kind.
If we can emphasise the truth about Christmas instead of just the capitalist idea of sales, then maybe Christmas would still be about buying things to give in love to those around us instead of only expecting to get from everyone.
Christmas should be a super duper love feast because Jesus himself was born on that day for the sole purpose of sharing himself with us entirely and eternally.
We will be more able to then value all that people around us give us not just the material presents that they buy.
There are some among us who give up their time to be with us, their attention to help guide us, their love to support us. Do we teach our children to recognise the gifts they bring to enrich our lives with?
Do we let the capitalists spend all their time and resources selling the Santa Clause idea to us rather than we as Christians taking the lead on selling the free gift of Jesus at Christmas with the world? Let us think again about what we teach the next generation.
Although China may have banned Christmas, let us revive the spirit of Christmas in our hearts and lives. Let us place an embargo on the capitalist, wasteful, self-indulgent idea of Christmas. Let us embrace the Christmas that reminds us to love, to give and to share.
After all as they say, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Thank you for reading.
Photo Credit: Pixabay