Mamacita says: I really don’t know how anyone could ever say it better than Charles Dickens, unless it was Ma Ingalls, who assured Laura and Mary that if everyone wanted everyone else to be happy all the time, then every day would be Christmas. I believe this to be absolutely true.
Haven’t you noticed by now that almost every time you hope and wish and strive for someone else’s happiness, you end up happier yourself? Sometimes, not getting what we wanted for Christmas means we get something else that’s even better. As far as I’m concerned, helping and watching others get what THEY wanted is the best part of the season.
It disgusts me out every pore of my very large body bothers me when people keep Christmas contained in a house or – far worse – in a church. Dressing up and hanging out with other dressed-up people all of whom are going home to near-opulence, comparatively speaking, and feeling justified and holy because they went through the motions and recited the words without actually doing anything about them really doesn’t seem like Christmas proper to me. These days, a lot of Christmas services are more like recitals and concerts with divas and prima donnas and spotlighted performers than anything spiritual or meaningful. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were meant to be given away, not draped around the church. How many of those overdressed bedecked people plan to do anything for anyone but themselves this Christmas? I am not impressed by glitzy ceremony and diva performances at church.
I am also disgusted that the very places that most need volunteers and donations are near capacity with the needy, and extremely short-handed with the volunteers on church nights. Shouldn’t those be the very times the most people gather together to DO for others, not just sit around and talk about it?
Preaching to the choir only reassures and reaffirms already-held thoughts and beliefs. Festooning a church with expensive fake greenery and shiny things seems an outrageous use of money that would be better spent supplying a soup kitchen or providing Christmas for several families in the area. On Christmas, why not shut the church’s door and send the church’s people out to actually, physically, help real people in their own areas who are in desperate need?
If all you did this season was decorate, purchase, bake, dress up, party, sing/play/work/plan only at/for church, or sit at home relaxing in front of the TV, shame on you. Next year, try to do better than that. Next year, don’t dress up and head for the mall or the church (unless it’s headquarters for the donations which you are going to help distribute); bundle up and get out there and make Christmas really happen for people who might not know what you’ve known for years. Don’t preach to them; let your actions do that for you. Action, people, not words. Words can be empty. Words ARE empty without accompanying action.
If your church’s Christmas focuses on the shop window glitter, performance, and in-house words/deeds/actions, maybe it’s time to seek a real church – one that has substance behind the glowing windows: a church that encourages its worshipers to walk out of the church and into the lives of the people.
Words are cheap. Action takes effort. Without the effort, Christmas isn’t the only meaningless thing in people’s lives.
Seriously. If your church doesn’t know the names of almost every person in its immediate neighborhood, what good is it? What good is it if it concentrates on sending packages and money overseas and ignores the needy right across the street?
It’s better to do a kindness at home than go afar to burn incense. –Chinese proverb
Heh. She said “dick.”
Being a “real” church. This is what keeps me at my church. It’s not all the way I would like it all the time, but that’s not really important. Is it DOING the work Jesus gave it to do? Yes. I am also irritated by churches that seem to be all about the performance. This is not why Jesus established the church, but to be His heart, hand, and feet in a needy world.
This whole “church” thing has long been a problem for me in that there’s a lot of TALK about outreach and compassion, but I don’t actually SEE a lot of it happening outside the walls of the churches themselves.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I got angry at all the people who posted “pray for the victims” statuses and blog entries. I get prayer, I really do, and I understand that it’s important, but it can’t be ALL someone does. Once you’re done praying, get off your knees and DO something – anything – that brings a little light or comfort or reason to the world. Two hands at work are worth more than a million clasped in prayer; I’m not saying “don’t pray,” but I AM saying that prayer can’t be all we do.