Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Season of Reason
I get a kick out of these ads from Acura. I like the play on words. We can all relate to the examples of ridiculous traditions in these ads: gifts, lights on the house, gourmet chestnut roasters (ok, maybe not that one). So we are offered an alternative tradition- the new car wrapped in a bow in the driveway on Christmas morning. I'm sure there are some people out there who actually get a brand new car for Christmas. There must be to justify these ads every year. Most of us though would be lucky to get a brand new bike.
But "season of reason"? What's reasonable about a new car for Christmas? I heard an ad on the radio the other day to lease a Mercedes Benz. Only $3800 down and $639/month for two years. Merry Christmas, honey! I just signed us up to have over $600 withdrawn from our account every month! Aren't you happy? Oh sure, we get a shiny new Mercedes to drive around too that we have to give it back in two years. But only $600! What a bargain!
I wonder how many people go into significant debt just this season just for the sake of buying presents? I can relate. Since I've been married, Christmas has always been a checkbook killer. Sure we try and budget a certain amount for gifts, but we always seem to go over. Then we add holiday travel to our balance and after a few years we were surprised to find ourselves tens of thousands of dollars in debt. And we haven't even been married that long! (insert shameless plug for Dave Ramsey... but don't want to get off-point)
Here we are to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus, the perfect gift from God. And the world encourages us to put ourselves in debt for the sake of things this holiday season. A gift that keeps giving, celebrated by people buying gifts that keep taking. Ironic? Maybe. Reasonable? Certainly not.
If you're like me and have a lot of last-minute shopping still to do, think about the gift we've been given in Christ. Think about how simple, how humble, how full of grace that gift was and continues to be. Then look at your shopping list and ask yourself if the gifts you're giving are as simple and humble. Are they given in grace, with no expectation for any return, or are they given simply because they're what the world tells us is the latest, coolest thing that we continue to pay interest on for the rest of our lives?
'Tis the season for reason.