Monthly Archives: December 2010

Combating the Crass Commercialization of Christmas

Ah, Christmas. It means so many things to people. Most Americans like to think of it as a religious holiday, celebrating the birth of the Savior. Many think of it as an obligation to give presents or to spend time with family. Those with small children typically view it with a mixture of joy and fear. The joy comes from their child’s face when they run down the stairs and first see that glorious tree with all the presents piled up beneath it. The fear comes mixed in, with the anxiety of choosing presents and paying those heavy credit card bills come January.

One of my friends stumbled upon a wonderful idea for her kids, to get them to remember the true meaning of Christmas and help to limit that fear.

She told them the story of Jesus’ birth, including the story of the three wiseman, following the star to Bethlehem. ¬†Matthew 2:11 mentions three gifts that were presented: “… they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”

Here is the whole story, just in case you’ve forgotten:

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Once the kids were reminded of the story of the three wiseman, she told them to picks three gifts for Santa to bring them. If the baby Jesus got three gifts, then the precedent has been sent, and each of the kids would get three gifts! Instant lower credit card bills, and a bonus theology lecture!

Enjoy the season!

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