These days I meet a lot of very interesting people. One fellow came up to me this week to introduce himself as the Anti-Christ. Not long into our discussion, it was plain to see that rather than being the ultimate victimizer of humanity he was a tragic victim of mental illness and the callousness of the world system. Afterwards someone else who listened to our exchange asked me, “What is the Anti-Christ?”. We had an interesting discussion and I look forward to follow up conversations.
I believe I saw the face of the Anti-Christ on this morning’s news as they showed crowds celebrating Thanksgiving by camping in front of malls and rushing in to spend and spend and spend! This is thanksgiving at the altar of materialism. The economy was recently ravaged by unbridled greed but past lessons about the cost of worshipping the idol of materialism, go unheeded.
We in the west hold capitalism in such high regard that it can eclipse our view of God. This truth is exceedingly evident in these lead up days to Christmas (a month away at this writing I’m not sure how many shopping days that is , probably 30). I do not want to rail against those who do not know Jesus for judgement ought to start with the household of God. Does our witness show the all surpassing abundance that comes from being in Christ? Or does it get severely mingled with a heavy dose of materialism? Does our bending the knee to materialism give the message that Christ is not sufficient?
Several years ago my daughter was taking a mission trip to Mexico. We decided to scale back our already modest spending and contribute toward this trip. We entitled it “Have Yourself a Mariachi Christmas”. We made things and wrote things and preformed things for Christmas. It was a lot of fun and this fun flowed from the abundance we have in Jesus.
Since that time we have managed to buy chickens, goats and once even a water buffalo (everybody wants a water buffalo) for families in India. We do this in defiance of the Anti-Christ, this god of materialism, and as sign that God is sufficient.
Since we became attached to Up Town and lately Community Chaplaincy we have opportunity every day to live generously rather than materialistically. I am becoming known for never having any cash and so my generosity cannot be material in nature but must instead be relational generosity. This type of relational generosity, witnesses to the wealth that we have in relationship with Jesus.
I do not want to be the prophet of the Grinch and steal Christmas but instead I want to advocate for a relational generosity in the Spirit of the Christ of Christmas. It is a battle but a battle worth waging and a witness worth living. It is our way of saying to the world that there is another and better way.