Interac has been running a rather simple campaign this holiday season: “Be in the black” “Debt’s a real nutcracker” etc. And it’s stuck with me. It’s counter-cultural. Our society expects us to have gifts for everyone even remotely dear to us and to rack up hefty credit card debts while doing it. So use interac! I mean, let’s be honest, they want your money, and it helps their bottom line if you use interac. Personally, I doubt a financial corporation actually has your wellbeing at heart, but hey at least you aren’t destroying your future budget!
It’s hard not to be cynical. Everyone at this time of year is angling towards your pocket book, from banks, to department stores, to insurance companies, to non-profits! I personally managed to avoid going into debt for Christmas gifts this year, more from a lack of options than a deliberate choice. Yet the thoughts of spending money, and the pressure to give good gifts was my constant companion this month. The spirit of generosity is an incredible thing to encourage and I love that people want to dig deep into their pockets in order to give gifts. That’s a good thing! Give generously is a joyous strain of Christian living. But something is off when we start sending out lists of things we want, demanding certain types of gifts from friends and family members. Something is off when we are disappointed that we didn’t receive a particular item. Something is off when we start rooting through the wrapping paper for a gift receipt.
Honestly, it scares me. What does it say of me when my emotions are more closely tied to the item under the wrapping paper than to the generosity of my friend, more closely tied to the gift than to the relationship signified by the gift.
Materialism, consumerism, i.e. Capitalism scares me. The thought of greed as an economic standard seems toxic. I haven’t the foggiest on how to go about fixing it. Maybe Interac isn’t all that fair off for starters.
But one thing I do know, the Christ is a constant role-model. And what a picture! That very first Christmas day, a gift we didn’t ask for, a gift we didn’t foresee, a gift in a most unexpected form, the gift we most sorely needed. The supreme God, humbled into the flesh of the created. What a Merry Christmas indeed!
And may you all have a blessed Christmas season!