Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advent and shopping

By nature my wife, Deb is not a big shopper, really not a shopper at all- except for necessities- nor I, unless you would turn me loose in a book store. Same there to some extent for my wife, and there is a great cowboy store around here (horse saddles, etc.) that is fascinating to her. If we had the money- we've almost never had "much" extra- I think we would shop or buy more than we do now.

Christmas and shopping are intertwined in the culture we live in in our affluent society. For stores this is a big and critical time of the year in which they make a majority of their money, so that it's a make or break time for them. And the malls are especially packed now.

We know that the greatest gift of all came in a baby born in a manger or cattle trough. Yet Christmas has become all about buying gifts with little or no mention given to the Christ after which it is named.

I am not opposed to the traditions here in America, if held in their right place. We enjoyed, for example, the movie Polar Express, and we have a Christmas tree by our front living room window. Though I have to admit, because of the way this season is played out here, I'm mostly uneasy with it all.

Not just by necessity but from the heart we want to be into other things. More than ever we in Jesus need to light the candle in the darkness all around us, and be taken up with the true reason for the season- Jesus and his truly great and wondrous coming! Let's bless God, ourselves and others by pondering in wonder and awe this most wonderful gift of all.

What does this season and its traditions mean to you? Or what would you like to say here?

from Nancy, "Sublime Transition": more

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother!

May Immanuel come to you in new ways this season!

All for Him~

Dawn Husnick

NaNcY said...

checking in on laptop...wireless internet. i am surprised to have my blog mentioned...that does not happen to me everyday! cool. it is hard to know that this time of year can be one of the hardest for those without family, or going through loss of somekind. i think because we imagine that it should be this perfectly wonderful time, and those expectations that sometimes we have or maybe others have can be set as such a high standard of percieved perfection for happiness. some people feel the huge emptiness when these expectations of what the holiday once was or should be are not met. sometimes even when they are met, because a lot of the things that are done in the season are not fulfilling and might even bring people to a new low.

it is a good time to take extra care in seeing those around us. letting them know from the heart how much they are loved and how wonderful that God thinks they are.
and to remember that in doing so we are filled. praise God. Jesus saves.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dawn,
Great to hear from you. Also great to read your story of God's grace in that emergency room, in Scot McKnight's new book, A Community Called Atonement.

Thanks Dawn, and blessings on you and yours this season and beyond.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for reminding us that it's about relationships and loving others in expressing our love for God during this season and all year. Blessings on you and yours this season and beyond.

Alex said...

What do you think, please, of Obadiah Shoher's interpretation of the story? (here: samsonblinded.org/blog/genesis-37.htm ) He takes the text literally to prove that the brothers played a practical joke on Yosef rather than intended to murder him or sell him into slavery. His argument seems fairly strong to me, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Alex,
Thanks for stopping by.

My own take is that the entire story in Genesis, I mean the story of Joseph makes better sense with the traditional interpretation.

The interpretation in the article is questionable in its immediate context. At the same time I don't see the difference as crucial in changing the tenor or essence of the story. Joseph was mistreated by his brothers, God used it for good through his time and work in Egypt- and God is beginning to build Israel as a nation, to be redeemed out of Egypt.

I do have to say I'm not impressed usually with these differing interpretations. They can sound good, but there are usually sound reasons why the traditional are essentially true.