Thanksgiving is approaching and then Christmas (there are other holidays, but as a Christian, people already think I am not politically correct, so I don’t need to try and be PC, because I’ll still disappoint them) and these are times when we will be challenged in many ways. Here are just a few:
1. Those who count calories will lose count quickly;
2. Those who use credit cards will max them out, just as quick;
3. People will be tempted to lie about why they can’t go to a gathering, or lie about how good someone’s fruitcake is (actually, I cannot lie, I hate fruitcake)
4. Many businesses will fail or succeed based upon how much money that they can make over the next couple months, and that means many in retail will not spend time with their family as they really would like or need.
As I was growing up, gift-giving was something we enjoyed. I am the youngest and received the most presents. I recall as I grew up, I visited some families that took gift-giving to extremes that I was not used to. It really made me uncomfortable. I really hated seeing the wasted food that was trashed after exorbitant feasts, also. I was ready to give up on Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations because of the abuses I saw. I wanted to remember that Jesus is the person we are celebrating at Christmas and God’s Providence is what we celebrate at Thanksgiving.
Boycotts and critiques are attempts to make the participant feel better, while nothing really changes, and the world continues to celebrate in drunkenness, gluttony and greed. So my suggestion is that we try and redeem the celebrations.
Here are a few thoughts:
1. Find a homeless person or two, and take them to a restaurant;
2. Invite foreigners, even Muslims, to come and celebrate with you. Let Muslims know if you will have pork, and have something that they could eat, instead (like Guinea Fowl, a popular dish during this time, that we call “Turkey” because of the Muslim Turks who used to trade this with the English);
3. Provide some tangible assistance to people in need (hopefully you know someone with a need, if not, then ask a charity or church for help);
4. Begin reading the New Testament at this time (if you read three chapters a day, you can finish in about three months), and while reading, listen to the Holy Spirit tell you how you can be more like Jesus;
5. Do something intentional and nice for your neighbors (aside from the mandatory wave that we often do). Distribute homemade cookies, or give them a hand delivered card or an ornament for their tree. If they don’t know why we celebrate Christmas, ask them if you can take them out for a cup of coffee and talk about it.
You get the picture, just reach out to people in love, and let the goal be to serve someone rather than being served.