Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Confessions

These are my confessions.

Are Usher references too 5 years ago? I've been away from current R&B for too long.

You might say that this is a post in the ongoing series of my life called "Confessions of a Recovering Materialist". 

I like stuff. Nice stuff. Stylish stuff. Trendy stuff. 

Whether it's v-necks or cars, I have an unhealthy attraction to good looking things. 

Hence one of the multitudinous reasons I married Ferial. She's gorgeous, but I digress.

It's Christmastime. That most wonderful time of the year. Also known as that most shoppingest (spell check didn't even blink at that word) time of the year. Ads, sales and slogans vie for our attention from every nook and cranny of our LED-inundated cities. Even here in Korea one cannot escape the sounds of midi-carols nor adverts begging you to buy this, that or the other sweater, shoe, scarf or cell phone. 

Over the years, I like Charlie Brown, have searched ever-more for the true meaning of Christmas. And before you decide to instruct me about virgins, babies and mangers...I know.  Jesus is the reason for the season. I love it.  I am enthralled with the miraculous mystery of Immanuel - God with us. This year, more than any other past, I have remembered, focused on and celebrated Advent. It's been rewarding and beautiful to remember the manger and look forward to the second Advent. 

But I still want presents. 

Nothing wrong with presents, John.

I know, but I am a great opponent of the consumer Christmas. I see the value and appreciate the beauty and sentiment of giving gifts on Christmas. I truly believe it is a meaningful tradition. However, it has also been robbed of its great meaning by our cultures' continued lust for more and better with a focus on me and mine. 

I love movements like the Advent Conspiracy, which campaigns agains the commercialism of Christmas, encouraging people to not give presents as much as the give presence. To give of themselves, their time and their money. To give to those less fortunate, instead of buying a tie your uncle Earl won't like, anyway. 

I support organizations like Hello Somebody who sell consumer goods, and not only with a conscience, but for a cause. The products you buy from their store directly fund projects providing education, food, clothing and discipleship to impoverished children around the world. 

I believe in these organizations, knowing that there are infinitely better things to do with our money than buy more crap we don't need!

I can't lie to you, though. There is yet a part of me that wants presents. I want to publish an Amazon wish list to facebook, and hope that friends and family will buy me stuff. I want to post links to sweaters I don't need and ask for gift cards to buy music and books. I was eye-shopping online, just before writing this. This morning, I sat on my bed, complaining to myself that the MacAppStore doesn't have a wish list feature!

Like I said, I'm recovering. 

Right now, though, as you come to the end of this post. I can say with total honesty that I hope you will navigate away from my blog (or at least open a new tab), go read about Blood:Water Mission and the work they are doing in Africa, fighting to eradicate AIDS and provide clean water to people so desperately in need of something so basic. You can buy a bag of cement and help change lives. Literally.

Or go buy a watch from Hello Somebody and give an African youth a better chance at success in this life.

....and if you wanna, you could even buy a watch for me...it's for a good cause!

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