Repent, Christmas is nigh…

REPENT POSTER- Buy nothing Christmas

I am a sinner.

I try hard to rid myself of my sinful ways. I get up in the morning with every intention of living the day like it was my last stop before the pearly gates- but then find that sometime before breakfast I have squeezed in one more visit to the fleshpots.

So it is, my friends, with consumerism.

I try to resist, but the flesh is weak, the stuff so seductive- I am captivated as if by some golden snake in a gadet filled garden.

We live to our means- and then a little beyond them in our western culture. To NOT do this is strange. The challenge to all of us, for the sake of the planet, is to find ways to break the bonds of addiction, and to move towards simpler lifestyles.

Perhaps you are not ready to do this- but if you are not, then it is likely that neither will your neighbours, and more worryingly, neither will your children.

Which brings us back to Christmas- the jewel in the consumer crown. The cash cow. The season when the ship comes in (from China of course.)

We repentants need to pawn the crown and find something more meaningful to do with the money.

We need to kill the cash cow and feed it to the hungry.

We need pirates to plunder the ships on the high seas, and empty out the sweat shops of the global south.

OK, I am getting a bit carried away by all this imagery. But how do you change? Can anything we do really make a difference?

I have tried the left wing middle class option for years- doing much the same as everyone else, with a little guilt and ‘fair trade’ product placement. Always being unsatisfied in theory, whilst greedy for more in practice. I want so much better for my kids, as I fear that it may already be too late- that the addiction has taken hold with them.

And more and more it seems that Christmas is the key. If we can not resist consumerism over the season named after Jesus Christ- then perhaps we never will.

What I have discovered however is that only one thing really will make a difference- and it is a rather counter intuitive one-

STOP buying presents!

What? Is this not the meaning of Christmas I hear you cry? The joy of giving and the sparkle in the eye of Tiny Tim? How mean spirited and gloomy that is!

Do you really believe this though? Is it really not possible to be full of joy and love and laughter unless you have spent hundreds (and thousands) on stuff that for the most part will be in a landfil site within the year?

You see- we have tried asking people not to give us gifts- that is the easy bit. People gave anyway, as the powers of obligation are strong- and also, we are so conditioned to beleive that there is simply no alternative.

And the whole system is perpetuated.

The difficult thing is to contact people who you love, and discuss the fact that you will not be giving them shiny stuff this year.

This is not the same thing as giving nothing of course- but there are so many cash free alternatives.

Flee from the sin, and you will be on the road to freedom.

But… there is that golden snake again.

5 thoughts on “Repent, Christmas is nigh…

  1. I understand that consumerism has killed the true meaning of Christmas . I personally feel that Christmas is a symbol of the birth of my spiritual desire to connect with the Upper One, which is still like a child among my many other animalistic desires and worldly pursuits. I know that I cannot do anything with this selfish nature until this newborn spiritual seed within my heart grows to adulthood and becomes the ruler of all my other desires. It is this tiny desire the size of a mustard seed that will develop into my salvation. All I must do is leave my darkness alone and not use it, while I nurture this seed of a desire. If I try and fight my darkness directly it always wins.

    I like the parable of not cutting out the weeds that grow in your corn feild until the corn is totally grown. If you try and weed out the field when the corn is the same size as the weeds you will pull out the good crop along with the weeds. When the good crop reaches maturity, it will be easy to separate the good crop from the bad.

    I know it is hard to see a deeply meaningful holiday that is at the heart of your faith reduced to a spending spree. However a lot of people are still very much unawakened and are living totally within the realm of egoism. So at this point the egoic person can only give from that level, whichg is showing love by buying stuff for others. I know it is not true bestowal and giving but a shadow of the truth, but let them give from the level that they are at. Accept the gifts and know that these are the baby steps towards spiritual adulthood.

    • Thanks for the thoughts Jason- and good thoughts they are.

      I suppose though for most in our culture (certainly this side of the Atlantic) Christmas has no spiritual dimension at all. It is no longer CHRISTmas, it is Santamass. I have heard many a rant against this- but this is just how it is.

      The question for me is how we might (Christians or not) seek to find spiritual significance? For some this might be focussing on family, doing good, stepping aside to think about the year ahead.

      But there is another take on this too- sustainability, inequality and exploitation. These are not issues of spiritual enlightenment as much as political/economic ethics.

      Cheers

      Chris

  2. Santamass…..I like that one, Its so true. Don’t get me wrong I totally agree with your post, I was just adding my two cents cause I like to hear myself talk LOL (Just joking……maybe not).

    Hopefully by humanity experiencing the bottomless pit of egoism and consumerism they will come to realize that happiness does not come from this and THEN search for the reall wealth that the Creator desires to give them. It truely is insane that we have stores overflowing with toys and places like Africa have no water or food. Talk about insanity.

  3. I have been thinking about this too, lately. I especially thought about it after the news of the woman pepper-spraying other shoppers so that she could get an open field to a stack of X-boxes– allegedly CHRISTMAS presents!– on Black Friday.

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