Jesus didn’t share his message so his birthday would be celebrated for the next two thousand years. Humans were so overwhelmed with the simplicity of the words Jesus spoke it is understandable that his birth and life would be commemorated. Feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, visiting those in prison and loving the enemy was a very unusual message and perhaps too simple for organized religion. No need for expensive buildings or organizations that soak up the offerings of the poor or contributions from the rich that fit the guidelines of the IRS. Perhaps we have put our priority on elaborate celebrations rather than responding to the simple message. Celebrations are more fun than sharing or visiting those in prison or helping the socially questionable.
Jesus didn’t say anything about the necessity of going into debt purchasing gifts. Jesus didn’t’ say anything about expensive celebrations. Jesus didn’t say anything about ‘black Friday’ or ‘cyber Monday’. Jesus didn’t say anything about worshiping in gold domed cathedrals or wearing robes embroidered in gold. Jesus suggested we love one another. However, loving others is exceedingly dangerous because loving involves caring which results in sharing. Sharing has never been an acceptable economic strategy.
Unfortunately, Christmas has become a celebration of excess, political debate and even religious squabbles. The fact that Christianity has strayed so far from its base message is illustrated by the amount of press Pope Francis has received for saying we should feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless and even wash the feet of those who are hurting.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating but let’s not justify our Christmas celebration in a way that dishonors the birth and life of Jesus who personifies true love even to the point of the ultimate sacrifice.