Forget about those red Starbucks cups. Stop believing that other people, businesses, the government, or the Media are collectively waging a war on Christmas.
It’s all a distraction that’s not worth your time.
Banksy’s “Consumer Jesus” screen print gets so much closer to the real threat we face each Christmas (and during the months-long preparations for this so holy of nights). In the print, the cross is replaced with the burden of shopping bags and the empty promises they represent.
Our mindless pursuit of material possessions, our over-reliance upon them to communicate our affection, and our belief that the next best thing can deliver true happiness; these things are killing us and the straining the planet we share. Our faith in consumption is the kind of dangerous idolatry that the Christian tradition actually calls us to be vigilant for. This, and the Kardashians…
Matthew’s Gospel (6:19-21) puts it this way:
“Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them.
Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them.”
In Luke (12:33), Jesus adds this guidance:
“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Make for yourselves wallets that don’t wear out—a treasure in heaven that never runs out. No thief comes near there, and no moth destroys.”
Both conclude with Jesus saying:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Whether we celebrate Christmas as the birth of the baby Jesus, or as the largely secular phenomenon it truly is in contemporary practice, may we be skeptical of the promises of marketers who hawk a false happiness. And may we look for opportunities to make meaningful investments of our talents, time, and treasure in our friends, family, and our fellow humanity.
At least some of those people could really use a warm cup of (burnt) coffee this time of the year.