A commercial-free Christmas

Dearly Beloved, Grace and peace to you.

Some people make it sound like you're not really a Christian unless you complain about the commercialization of Christmas. I say, Bah, humbug!

I don’t care. I don't notice the commercialization, or pay any attention to the alleged “war on Christmas.” Because in our society not only the meaning of this season but all the teachings of Jesus, the whole Gospel, has been commercialized, politicized, trivialized, domesticated, hollowed out, dumbed down, dressed up, and turned into a Barbie doll. So what? It’s always been that way.

The mystery of God is inaccessible to dualistic thinking, so of course most people don't get it. What Jesus taught was so contrary to conventional wisdom, so outside our understanding and judgment, and so opposed to the systems of oppression, fear and social status that we're invested in, that of course people misunderstand it and resist it and distort it and co-opt it. Jesus initiates God's Empire of Grace, which overthrows all the empires of this world, including the Empire of Rome, the Empire of Deserving, and the Empire of Halliburton. So even the Christmas story includes the profound resistance against itself, in the violent reaction of Herod and the slaughter of the innocents. Of course people want to trivialize the radical nature of God’s grace and its claim on us, the universal power of God’s forgiveness, the subversive reality of resurrection. Why wouldn’t they want this to be a story about a cute little baby’s birthday, on which we should buy big TV’s?

Ignore them. The whole point of walking a spiritual path is that you don't go the way others do. The point of meditation is to let go of the world's “Babel sounds.” Don’t expect others to validate your faith. Don’t waste your energy on expectations of them. (If you need a more commercial-free Christmas, watch less TV and stay out of the mall.) Put your own Christ in Christmas.

Open your heart to God’s amazing presence. Seek awareness of God’s incarnation in the simple, among the poor, hidden in the unheralded. Don’t be fooled by this world’s expectations. A Savior is coming, who sets us free from all oppression—the oppression of our sin and guilt, the oppression of fear, the oppression of death, the oppression of those who use power and wealth unjustly, and the oppression of other people’s opinions. The good news of Christmas is that God has come to set you free, even from people who misunderstand and abuse Christmas!

Christ is coming. Open your heart to the good news.

Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light www.unfoldinglight.net