The coming couple of months will bring cold, crisp, sunny days; a festival devoted to giving thanks for the blessings we have received; and, for Christians, a celebration of the coming of One who was born in obscurity, lived in poverty, and died in humiliation.
Oh, and lots of shopping. Remember the old definition of a credit card? "A way to spend money you don't have, to buy stuff you don't need,
to impress people you don't like."
Breathless newspaper and magazine articles (like the one from Forbes yesterday whose titled I borrowed) will encourage us to get ready for the shopping orgy; will celebrate or bemoan the level of "consumer confidence" and the resulting sales; will rehearse once once again the consumer's litany: the meaning of our lives is measured by the abundance and fashionableness of our possessions.
The more "old" goods are discarded to our groaning landfills, and the more "new" goods are mined from the irreplaceable resources of the earth, the "better" we will be told the year has been.
Can Christians find another way? Yes, the presentation of costly love-gifts is part of Jesus' story (and not just at Christmas). He himself is the costliest gift. Can we celebrate that abundance of generosity in a way that does not involve us in the consumption of an abundance of stuff?