Let’s face it: the Americanized concept of Christmas is for the wealthy. There are many who look to this season with dread because they cannot keep up with the demands that we, as a society, have put upon ourselves. As Christians, we can pretend that Christmas is still centered around Jesus, but in reality we know the truth: ‘Tis the season of gluttony, shameless materialism, selfishness, and “load[ing] other people down with unbearable burdens” (see Lk. 11:46).
The tragedy is this: If Christmas excludes the poor, then it’s not part of the Kingdom of God, because the gospel is always good news to the poor.
What can we do? If we truly want to bring Christ back into Christmas, let’s make sure we’re not just offering lip service. We can bellow, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” until we’re hoarse, but unless we actively and deliberately stop participating in the shameful aspects of what Christmas has become, and instead open our hearts, homes, and pockets to those who suffer during the holidays, we are, at best, annoying—and, at worst, hypocritical.
If you’re among those who are blessed enough to make it through the holidays without having to choose between groceries or a new toy for your toddler, please consider “adopting” a family. Take the burdens off a parent or two by committing to purchase presents for the kids, and then throw in an extra blessing for Mom and Dad. And don’t stop there. Pay attention to everyone around you. Determine that no one will spend Christmas alone if you can help it. Don’t assume that everyone has somewhere to go; if in doubt, ask. Surely we can all fit a few more place settings at our tables.
We’re already into the first week of December, so act quickly! Find a family to adopt, and then let them know they need not worry about the expenses that come with Christmas. (If you choose to do this anonymously, ask a friend to be your messenger.) This season wasn’t meant to be a time of anguish, loneliness, and anxiety, but that’s what we, as American consumers, have made it. Let’s do what we can to reverse the damage by “shouldering each other’s burdens” (see Gal. 2:6).