It’s Christmastime, the time of year we’ve collectively agreed to celebrate by buying stuff, by making ourselves feel inadequate for not being able to buy more stuff. Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t too far off when he declared humbug on the whole business (though maybe for different reasons).
This consumer season, with its sugar-coated cheer and affected goodwill shines a bright light on the divide between the haves and have-nots. Christmastime can make the poor feel poorer, the lonely lonelier, the abused more ashamed, the hurting more hurt—in complete contrast to the message of the one whose birthday we celebrate.
We’re in a time of Advent. We are preparing our hearts for the coming of the One to show us that true peace is possible, that God’s table of abundance has a place for all. Christmas is a time to celebrate. Gifts and food and decorations and music are all great parts of this celebration, as is quiet time in prayer and reading and listening to the stories of others. I’m not going to lecture you on the “true meaning of Christmas” or tell you how you may be “doing Christmas” wrong, but I will tell you to give yourself a break. Chances are, if you’re reading this magazine, your efforts to ensure thriving lives for all are year-round. Your faith-inspired service is coupled with equally important efforts of advocacy in all seasons.
Remember the poor, the lonely, the abused, the hurt this Christmastime. Do this in ways best suited to your time, ability and passions. Honor the multiple and multifaith ways God is worshipped. This Advent, prepare your heart to believe that peace is possible and will exist, because we won’t stop working for it. Christmas is a wonderful, spiritual, perhaps cinnamon-scented (or not) time of year to remember and celebrate that Love was given to us as we give love to others.
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