Below is the latest from Michael Pearl - sobering, real and something I needed to be reminded of today.
"‘Tis the season to be jolly, glutinous, wasteful, and covetous, while maxing out your credit cards. According to statistics, suicides will be at their highest in the next two months, more children will be molested in back rooms while parents visit, depression will be the default mood, and accidents from drunken driving and drug use will peak. Church attendance will drop off, and baby Jesus will share the stage with Santa Claus. Angels, who were sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation, will become nothing more than decorations on a Nimrod tree.
No, I haven’t lost my joy or become cynical. Just the facts Ma’am, just the facts. Now, the question is, how can we enjoy this unholy holiday and glorify God in the process? The answer is simple, “Walk after the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
As you shop for gifts, choose those things that the person for whom you are shopping would have purchased anyhow. My mother-in-law, who is now dead, always bought my sons and me new flannel shirts for Christmas. She would wrap them in paper without any box. You could feel the buttons through the wrapping paper. But we would always shake it and listen to it not rattle as if we were trying to discern the content. We knew it was a plaid, flannel, lumber jack shirt, and of course she knew that we knew, but it was part of the family fun that time of year. Just this past week, Nathan was visiting, wearing a worn flannel shirt. I said, “Hey, what are you doing with my shirt?” He pointed to one just like it lying on the furniture, and protested, “There’s yours; this one is mine; Nanny gave it to me.” Indeed she did. In fact, most of the old work shirts I have were gifts from Nanny.
Each year, year after year, when we opened the packages in front of Nanny and tried on our new plaid shirts, I had no idea those shirts would become such a part of the fabric of our lives. But they still speak of Nanny years later.
So when you give this season, make it a gift without vanity and waste. There are enough junk items in yard sales and useless items stored in boxes in the attic or garage. If you choose to participate in this competition of gift exchange, do it in a way that blesses people rather than causing them to lie as they hold it up and enthusiastically exclaim, “Oh, it’s… just… what I needed.” And you say, “You’ve got it upside down; here, let me show you what it does.”
Do not spend money you do not have, and don’t spend money on these nonessentials that will strain your regular budget. The holiday season has its own rules that will sweep you along or make you feel like a scrooge if you don’t cooperate. Don’t be a victim of tradition.
We solved this problem before our children were born by just basically ignoring the entire holiday. We didn’t try to “keep Christ in Christmas.” That would be like trying to keep the US constitution in the United Nations. Never was there and doesn’t fit.
But I urge you to not become a campaigner against the holiday. Don’t waste God’s time bashing other people’s good cheer. Live your Christian life every day and let him be the center of all your conversation and activities."
— Michael Pearl