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The Death of the Jolly Old Elf

Is This the Demise of Santa Claus?

Ceramic nativity scene with two pillar candles providing illuminationThe anti-commercialization sentiments over the Christmas holiday seems to be growing as more and more people display their dissatisfaction with the overwhelming excess the holiday has come to represent. One such person was so upset over the exploitation of Christmas, in protest he hung a Santa Claus dummy from a noose on his front porch. Needless to say such a perceived negative public demonstration didn’t go over very well and the story made yesterday’s local news.

The message of Santa’s broken neck was not a display of anti Christmas or even anti Santa, rather it was meant to project the protester’s irritation over the increasing holiday greed and overspending. As soon as the news story hit the airwaves the Santa was taken down with statement that there was never an intention to offend anyone.

While hanging Santa from a noose was a drastic and misguided action, once I understood his belief that Christmas is about the birth of Christ Jesus I could feel his exasperation behind the move. After all I used to think Black Friday was crazed enough never knowing that years down the road we would have Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday all with the express purpose of getting the almighty dollar.

Should we support local businesses and donate to charity? Beyond a doubt we should do this throughout the year and have days set aside as special reminders of our civic duties. I just don’t think doing it around Christmas is the proper timing.

As time goes on I’ve seen Christmas get bigger, more overblown, and pretentious than I ever thought possible. From decorations, marked up sales, the latest techno gadgets to overextending ourselves to the point of going into the New Year in debt it doesn’t make sense.

Ask any struggling single parent, elderly person on a fixed income, an unemployed person, or anyone fighting to make ends meet and they’ll tell you that prioritizing everyday rules the day especially around Christmas. There is no keeping up with the Jones es because the reality is this: there is no extra cash flow during the holidays. When you have to choose between a prescription for a chronic disease, eating a meal or paying the electric bill who cares about a hover board or a flat screen TV?

From that silent night upon Jesus Christ’s birth approximately 2,000 years ago, a day that represents peace, joy, happiness and love it seems we’ve lost our way. Instead of peace we have turmoil, instead of joy there’s melancholy, instead of happiness we are in despair and instead of love we choose hatred.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t buy gifts, decorate or even have host a fabulous Christmas dinner. What I am saying is let’s give a little more thought to the reason for the holiday and the gift giving process. Following are just a few practical suggestions for gifts of the heart that will make a lasting impact:

  • Dropping off anonymous fixin’s for a Christmas dinner to a neighbor(s) in need
  • Donating blood to the local blood bank
  • Giving food or funds to the local food bank
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen
  • Donating clothing, toys, personal care items to a women’s shelter
  • Visiting the home-bound, sick, or elderly in the hospital or nursing home
  • Spending time with someone who is lonely
  • Helping out the family of an active service member or veteran
  • Becoming an organ donor
  • Providing respite for a caregiver
  • Donating food and or volunteering at a local homeless shelter

Jesus came to save the world, wouldn’t he want us to save one another?

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6 English Standard Version (ESV)


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