Last night Stephen Colbert reminded me, loudly, that I only
more shopping days until I have to make Jesus Christ might personal savior!" That sort of says it all.
23 shopping days to celebrate salvation, inspiration,
redemption. 23 shopping days to buy
forgiveness, mercy, justice, hope. Of course
it makes us feel ridiculous (and maybe even ashamed) that the Good News becomes
Retail News. But there it is. There it's been. There it's gonna be. I'm not changing that. I've got no new wisdom on our consumption by
consumption. It will take something even
more powerful and wonderful than the moon I saw last night (after I put the Colbert
Report to bed) to shift that tide.
For me this has been a live topic at home. How do we shift our own family values? In other words-how do we actually shift them
instead of just talking about it? How do
we find the joy of generosity and the gladness of giving without creating grief
and guilt? Obviously alternative gift
giving comes to mind, and it's really no new idea. "Alternatives" have always been available to
us, in lots of different ways. Gifts of
time; gifts of personal treasures; simple joys, favors, something
delicious. Lots of alternatives out there. And today, there is a healthy industry of these
so-called alternative catalogs. Grace
Outreach even has ideas and ways to give.
Look again at our latest newsletter
and the Outreach page
on the website. And then there's the wonderful catalog published by Episcopal Relief and Development-it's
so specific about how each gift matters.
And each one does. A recent NY
describes how so much good happens in the world through small, individual
donors. It matters. We can do it.
We can make it "mainstream" instead of alternative.
As I've thought (again!) about this annual struggle I have
experienced some graceful good news. I've
been reminded that I really do like to give. Giving nurtures and awakens my
generosity. It helps me remember I have "enough"-therefore
I can give, share. Do I have daily
bread? Yes. Who doesn't have it? Can I help?
Yes. Giving-giving away-is so, so
good for us. It has very little to do
with consuming, shopping, or personal saviors.
And it has everything to do with Jesus.
And BTW: If you like counting down the days, try the great Advent calendar on
our website, or this one from the National