Thursday, December 29, 2011

“What do you need for Christmas?”

I know Christmas is over, but I wanted to ask, “What do you need for Christmas?”

All the kids, retailers, etc. will hate me for this, but what if Christmas was really about giving?   REAL giving.

I mean, Christ came and died and paid the price for sin, and purchased our salvation because we needed it.  It wasn’t a frivolous materialistic purchase for our pleasure.  He didn’t come to throw flowers and spread love.  He came to buy, pay and purchase us.  It was a deadly need.  Our lives depended on it.

What if we asked people what do you NEED for Christmas?  What if it was truly others-focused and based on their needs? It’s a socialist idea, really, but so much different when it comes from the heart of each man for another, rather than an unchosen government imposition. There are Christian organizations that provide for needs around the world. Christmas is really a big time of year for them, because people are in a giving mood.  But what if we were like that with everyone?  

Here in America, we don’t really need much, but what if the kids got new pajamas, new boots, or new eyeglasses for Christmas instead of Xboxes and cell phones?  What if we went around asking friends and relatives, “hey, what do you need for Christmas?”  In a real community, word would get around that old Mrs. Smith just needs $50 to pay for her prescriptions this month, teacher needs a new muffler on her car, mommy needs a new pair of slippers, and daddy could use a new snow shovel. 

As it is, the question is always, “what do you WANT for Christmas?”  Maybe I am just too practical, but I think if we spent all the $ we shell out for frivolities at Christmas for things that folks really need, there would be a lot of needs met and some very happy people....not just materially, but knowing that someone has your back, someone is looking for how they can bless you and meet your needs. 

We have a warped view of wants vs. needs here in America anyway, and I think that is a huge part of our problem as individuals and as a nation.  When we think that computers and cellphones are needs, there is a problem (they are, though, for me. I know, I have a problem.)  But really what do we NEED?   Even if we make some allowances in the definition for us as Americans, we could certainly reduce the materialism in our lives if we looked, really looked to meet people’s needs.

I got my daughter some things she NEEDED for Christmas this year.  She is living in cold, cold Rochester, NY, and so she needed a warmer coat, warmer shoes, warmer clothes, and a hat.  Yet, I still felt like I should get her something fun.  I feel like there is this cultural pressure to get “fluffy” things for people for Christmas.  It’s not really appropriate to get practical things for people for Christmas, but wouldn’t that be better?  Wouldn’t it be best to put aside the fluff, ask people what they need, and have a nice dinner for Christmas?

My youngest and I have been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, and they were deliriously happy over the Christmas candy in their stockings and perhaps a new pair of mittens, even for just the Christmas dinner itself, and any people that joined them.

Think of the reduced pressure, the return of true Christmas Spirit, in asking people,
“What do you need for Christmas?”

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