The Christmas Commercial


It's about this time where I look around at all the store displays of clothes, toys and other odds and ends, mentally making my wish list - what CD's, movies, electronics and action figures I want to add to my small, yet growing, collection. Then, after leaving the crowded malls, I drive home on the Queensway, where it's cars bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see.

Later, while trying to take a breather, I slowly make my way around the block, admiring all the light arrangements on each house, until I come to a front yard with a nativity scene covered in snow - I stop in my tracks, and ask myself. "Is this what the Christmas season has become? Greedy people always wanting more? Malls filled with angry people rushing to get their stuff and get out? Clothing and toy companies bombarding TV watchers with 'need to have' products? Competitions of 'who has the best light display? Is that what the most celebrated holiday is to people now?"

I think Lucy said it best when she said, "Look Charlie Brown, we all know Christmas is just a bunch of commercial racket" and it's true. People have lost the true purpose of this season.

Oh yes, they see it on the thousands of Christmas TV Specials that are playing, but does it really mean anything to them? And if it does, is it lost with the next half hour special of Santa Claus delivering presents to good girls and boys?

Christmas isn't about a jolly fat man dressed in red and eight to nine flying reindeer, nor is it about carols sung at senior homes and hospitals. It's not about roasted turkeys with stuffing or even about family, friends and the exchange of loving gifts in front of a fire place and Christmas tree.

Two thousand years ago, angels proclaimed the arrival of the Saviour of the world. They sang of glorifying God to some lowly shepherds who were looked down upon by society. Those shepherds found the new born baby wrapped in strips of simple rags in an animal stable.

The birth of Jesus Christ in the town of Bethlehem during the chaos of a Roman Census. I imagine trying to find a room at that time was much harder than hunting down a 'Tickle Me Elmo' or those stupid talking Ferbies. The significance of this holiday has been swallowed up by the hustle and bustle of a modern commercialized holiday that Halmark and Walmart, Sears and Suzy Shier's, the city bus, and Toys R Us profit from.

With all this rattling around in my mind, I look at my surroundings again and all the Christmas cheer looks grim. The store displays no longer are appealing to my eye, my wish list seems obsolete and vanishes from my mind, and the coloured lights lose their sparkle. There's an ache in my heart that makes me wish I could lift this mask of a false Christmas from people's minds and have them truly be happy; but sadly, I know I alone could never do that. It's not in my power to make everyone believe what I want them to believe. Christmas will continue to be a 'commercial racket' for them until they see for themselves the truth of their sinful predicament. That they need Christ in their lives to give it meaning and to bring out the true meaning of Christmas - so much more than a thirty minute television special can ever do.

Until then, people will continue to live out their lives the way they think they should, because it's "right for them". I want to change them and it hurts me to say it, but I can't do a blasted thing about it because I wouldn't be listened to. I'm just a goodie-two-shoes Christian that is too pushy about age old beliefs that are not relative any more.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. It seems sometimes completely hopeless, but then I can't give up on them because giving up isn't my job. Telling them is and I will tell them until they won't listen anymore, or that they'll listen and change. In the end, it's been worth while.

I look forward to a Christmas where there is no rushing around to grab those last minute gifts, but we'll all be celebrating what it's all about - the birth of the Saviour of all mandkind.