We’re hardly past Halloween and it’s already started: the holiday shopping craze. Earlier every year, isn’t it? Now let me quickly point out that I can tolerate a lot of shopping. I actually have an extremely high threshold for that kind of thing. But I noticed a few weeks into last season’s Christmas shopping mania that my stamina had started to wane. I think a lot of it was because instead of “Christmas spirit,” a lot of the people I ran into had more of a “bliss-less spirit.” No detectable joy to the world. Zero holiday glee. Even less patience.
On one of the shopping days last year, for instance, I was pretty sure I got overcharged, but I didn’t say anything. Why? Because, as my daughter pointed out, the sales person was a very sturdy, very Nordic-looking woman with one large eyebrow and no smile and I feared her greatly. When I merely cleared my throat, she raised half of the eyebrow threateningly and I stayed quiet until my near-sprint out of there. I could’ve been missing a “buy one, get 40 free” kind of bargain and I still wouldn’t have said anything. I was afraid even a minor conflict could kick off the pillaging and/or plundering of my village.
We need a Jesus-reminder every single step along the way as we head toward the season. Have you ever thought about the fact that on that first Christmas, there was no shopping? Weird thought, isn’t it? The good news of great joy the angel announced to the shoppers…I mean…the shepherds…was the amazing news of the Savior’s birth. The incredible story from Luke 2:8-11 is for us to enjoy in every little part of our calendar year. “In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David,’” (HCSB).
Keeping watch over the sales by newspaper? Keeping watch over the e-mall by Internet? Whatever we’re watching, may we remember that it’s really all about Jesus our King. Praise God the Father for the history-rocking, eternity-locking birth of the King. Not “Vi”-king. THE King. What a wonder that Christ was born as a less-than-sturdy human with our eternal salvation as his one purpose in coming. And what a wonder that he came knowing the cost of our salvation would be his very life. No coupon special. No buy one, get one. No sale of this century or any other can compare with the purchase of our eternity by the blood of Jesus.
Remembering Christ. That adds the bliss right back into every season. Even the shopping seasons. Even shopping in turn-of-the-century Scandinavia.