Advent has come to us once again. Yesterday marked the fourth Sunday before Christmas, the beginning of the Church calendar and the start of the Advent season, remembering the awaiting of the Messiah’s coming, fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, and also the Church’s anticipation of his second coming. This is a season of anticipation.
I have ranted many, many times in the past about the issues I have with Santa Claus and our use of him in our celebration of Christmas. To tell the truth, if we still observed the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 5th and remembered the Lycian bishop who most notably slapped Arius in the face, knocking him to the ground, at the Council of Nicaea instead of purporting a fable that tends to only perpetuate the consumerism of the modern holiday season, perhaps the anomaly known as Santa Claus would not have stolen so much attention from the central meaning of Christmas and made its celebration entirely possibly without the slightest nod to Christ.
However, I think my previous tirades miss the most crucial point. We have missed the point. We’ve been missing the point. The glory given to Santa Claus is but a symptom of the problems at the core of our celebration of Christmas. For the longest time, consumerism has become us. It has consumed us. It is our nature as a narcissistic people… it is our sin nature. We are so self-centered that, while we give lip-service to the ideas of “giving” and “peace on earth,” we spend hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars each year buying luxurious items at Christmas “sales” and gorging ourselves on feast after feast. Perhaps the saying is true that “we are what we eat,” for this season is filled with dense fruitcakes.
Can we make this year different? Can we at least start? Can we tone down the buying… for ourselves and for those around us? Can we refuse to splurge on the high tech electronics for ourselves? How about the underwear for loved ones no respectable person would be caught wearing to Rocky Horror night at a midnight movie theater? Can we think about what Christ cared about, what St. Nicholas cared about even, and thus return our focus to Christ and our efforts to those who are most in need? Several friends over the past few days have passed along a link to an organization that is trying to do just that. The statistics presented in the video are amazing. Please visit Advent Conspiracy and make a difference this holiday season.