This Christmas season our church has joined with the Advent Conspiracy www.adventconspiracy.org, in which many congregations throughout the US are moving away from the consumerism of this season, "Xmas," and come back to Jesus. There are four simple emphases: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All. My hope is that this will bring us back to what Christmas is really about.
The book of Matthew describes the coming of the "wise men" from the East so simply, "On coming to the house, [the wise men] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh" (2:10-11, I added the bold).
I don't know if the point comes across as directly as it does to me, but the gifts the wise men brought gifts to Jesus. They didn't give things to one another. Nonetheless, that's not what Xmas has become: we are consumed so often with what we want and what others want. Who's going to get the new iPod, or the robotic hamster, the soft leather shoes, or the Hugo Boss tie? What if we stopped and asked, "What does Jesus want me to give this Christmas to him?"
In a world, where over a billion people live on less than a dollar a day and where the United States spends $450 billion dollars a year on Christmas gifts, I think giving to Jesus means spending less on ourselves and more on helping the poor and the oppressed.
So I'm interested: Do you have any suggestions for how to give to what Jesus cares about this Christmas?