Christmas is fast approaching. Stores stand decorated in full regalia, lampposts are dressed in frilly attire, and kids are quizzing their parents about what Santa might bring. The aggressive “things” push seems just a little bit less In England than when I compare things to other places of years gone by. It is almost like we are living in a more traditional world of the earlier decades; but then again, by Christmas Oxford and Regent Streets will be as pushy as the rest!
There is one big difference between America and England when one compares the two approaches to the holiday season, parties! Every office groups will have a party that frequently resembles Mardi Gras. Families open their doors to welcome people in the Holiday spirit with spirits. The whole country seems to approach the season with a festive, carefree attitude that quickly disappears with each New Year.
The underside of the season becomes public each year. Gossip columns in the newspapers are already beginning to carry stories about moral failures. Corporate gossip chains are full of incredible and ultimately sad stories of people losing control and often destroying their lives.
I wonder about my approach to Christmas. Am I looking to welcome others into the season? Do I appreciate and model the spirit of giving? Do I connect my approach with the mass of material things or do I look for the spirit of Christ?
Paul asked the church in Rome to do him a favor. “Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for.” (Romans 16.1) In today's world, one would almost think he was being sarcastic because people rarely know Christians for their generous hospitality; Christian gifts always come attached with hooks and strings.
Last night I gave away three gifts of mercy, acceptance, and love. I am not sure how the individuals will use these gifts; it really does not matter. We have opportunities to give to others what God gives to you and I. This is Christmas.