According to a Gallup poll, the average American expects to spend approximately $763 on Christmas this year. Those earning at least $75,000 a year plan to spend more than $1,100. Thereâ€™s always something new to buy, from iPods to Xboxes to MP3 players. What kind of TV do you want? . . . plasma or LCD? . . . flat screen or projection? Your cell phone can take pictures or play music . . . hey, it can even make phone calls!
In an earlier era, the general store stocked about a thousand different products. But today, the typical Wal-Mart superstore stocks 130,000 items. Not long after the Halloween candy is eaten, the sounds of Jingle Bell Rock start to invade department stores and the “happy holidays” greetings begin to be heard. The rush is on! The traffic increases. People spend the night at Toys ‘R Us just to have a chance at buying a Nintendo Wii.
So how do we transform this to make it a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ?
For a long time, we have incorporated an activity into our Christmas traditions, called ‘The Christmas Web’. Recently we visited the Antebellum Plantation at Stone Mountain and saw that this was done way back around the turn of the 19th century.
The idea is that the true message of Christmas has become lost in a ‘web of commercialism’. We tell our kids that it is their job to find the true meaning of Christmas. We put all of them in one bedroom with the door closed while we take 5 rolls of yarn (one for each child). We weave the rolls like a giant spider web all over the house into every room and out onto the patio. It is hard to even move when it is complete. At the end of the roll, we tie a small symbolic gift. The gift has been a small flashlight that symbolizes ‘turning the light on to dispel the darkness’ in our world, or a new cup that symbolizes ‘being the kind of vessel God can use’.
While the children follow their own web through the house, we talk about finding the true meaning of Christmas that is mysteriously hidden in all the hustle and bustle of the season. Mark 4:11 And Jesus said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.” In Col. 1:26-27, Paul writes, “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. This is the real meaning of Christmas.