‘The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?’ Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
Christmas shopping should be called holiday shopping. I don’t like to call it holiday shopping, but unfortunately, to many, that’s just what it is. And along with the holiday shopping comes the public display of bad manners, irritability, and rudeness shown to others. Take the Christ out of Christmas, and this is what we get. Along with it may come fear, which really has no place when celebrating Christmas.
I call it holiday shopping because a lot of the people who enter stores to buy Christmas presents are not Christians. Now, before we go spouting off about political correctness and profiling, let me just say that I have witnessed some Christians I know act much like non-Christians when put in the arena of ‘getting the best price for the item they simply must have and will do anything to obtain’. This mindset is the one that I absolutely abhor, and this kind of behavior is exactly what it is that keeps me from enjoying the Christmas shopping season.
‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” ‘ Zechariah 7:9 (NIV)
This is not how God wants us to behave, is it? No, of course not. What is the difference between the times we are in church, and the times we are in public? Why do we often think rude and unacceptable behavior is okay if we are not in the church setting? Jesus behaved the same everywhere He went. Therefore, shouldn’t we?
If you remember the Cabbage Patch dolls of the 80’s, you will also remember the news stories of mothers beating up mothers because of the shortage of these ugly dolls. Yes, they certainly were ugly. But still, because they were so different, and probably also because they were not produced in large numbers at first, they were all the rage. Then we had the Air Jordan shoes. People went to great lengths to obtain them in not so nice ways as well.
I am sure that many parents would later look back on their behavior and felt regret. Did that behavior teach their children anything? Perhaps, and maybe not in the parent’s favor. Sadly, we see even more of this behavior today. What an example to set for our children, and in the case of Christians behaving badly, what a way to harm the cause of Christ. We tell our children to be kind, to show patience, to accept disappointments well. But when they see us doing exactly the opposite, they receive the wrong message.
When we shop for gifts, we should be shopping with joy in our hearts for the Reason we are shopping. We are emulating God when we buy gifts for someone else. For just as He gave us the gift of Jesus, His own Son, we also wish to give something good, something of eternal value. He gave us Messiah, who is Our Hope. He is the Morning Star, the Counselor, the King of Kings. He is the Lion of Judah, He is the Cornerstone. He is our Light, and our Salvation. He is Jesus, and as such He is hope eternal. He deserves our best behavior, in every situation. And by His example, we should be kind and considerate, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, even if we are Christmas shopping.
Take a cup of kindness, mix it well with love, add a lot of patience, and faith in God above. — Helen Steiner Rice