Four Things the Church can learn from Department stores about Christmas?
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God ~ Romans 8:28(a)
I consider myself a purist when it comes to Christmas. What I mean by that is that I feel Christmas decorations should not go up until after Thanksgiving. Christmas songs should not played on the radio until December. I am ok with Black Friday, but Black Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is too much. This year, in fact, there was Christmas stuff out in October. That just isn’t right…or is it?
Since October, when I spotted the first Christmas item out on display, I thought to myself, “what is our society coming to?” But the more I thought about it, the more I think that maybe department stores are getting it right and I, and others like me, have been wrong - and these are the reasons why.
1) We shouldn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to think about Christmas!
The church sets aside only four weeks of the year to prepare for the arrival of the Savior of the world. Four out of 52. In the church calendar we have 32 weeks designated as “ordinary” but only four in preparation for the Savior of the world.
Department stores don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start thinking about Christmas, and neither should we. If department stores’ goal is to get people thinking about Christmas earlier and earlier each year, so should we. As Christians, our goal is to share the good news (gospel) with everyone. We should celebrate the fact that people are talking about Christmas in October and November, as Christmas is something that we should always be expecting and preparing for.
2) It is all about the preparation!
Every year when Christmas season rolls around, department stores increase their staff in anticipation of all the people who typically don’t shop at their stores who will come into their stores to shop. They intentionally prepare for the people that they might see once or twice a year, not by shunning them or making them feel bad about only shopping at their store once a year. In fact, they go to great lengths to make every customer, new and old, feel welcome. This should be our goal too. There are people who, for one reason or another, can only make it to church a few times a year, and Christmas is one of those times. As a church, we should be prepared for them. We should be prepared to do more this Christmas season to make those who can’t attend regularly feel welcome in hope that they will see what God is doing at Pinnacle and want to be apart of the ministry here.
3) It is all about the Perfect Gift!
It is hard to watch television this time of year with my kids as every time something comes on TV they say they want it. Department store spend millions of dollars telling us what we need this Christmas. We spend lots of time (and money) trying to find the perfect gift, not just for our family and friends, but also for ourselves. We are told that the perfect gift will make whomever we buy for happy.
When it comes to God, the same is true - the perfect gift will make God happy. Despite it being Christmas, a celebration of Jesus birth, how many of us, in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, forget to give Jesus a gift? But what do you give the Savior of the world for his birthday? We give the perfect gift…ourselves. We can give our time helping out. We can go out of our way to make people feel loved. We help those who are less fortunate, in honor of the work that Jesus did while he was on earth. All Jesus wants for Christmas is us. For us to do his work, to be his people, to live a life that brings glory to his name.
4) This is exciting time of year!!!
It is hard to walk into the doors of a store during Christmas and not feel the excitement in the air. There is music playing and people dressed up. Many stores set up special kiosks letting you know what is new and make you aware of special events. Department stores often change the decorations and the way they look to help build the excitement. They even go to special lengths to put scents in the air to get you into the season.
This is an exciting time of year. As the church, we too decorate our sanctuaries, with Christmas decorations and poinsettias and put out information. But often in the busyness of the season, we forget that Christmas is a birthday party and birthday parties are exciting. We should be excited for Christmas and not because of the presents, but because Christmas is the day that we celebrate God’s love poured out for us in the form of a baby.
Paul tells the church in Rome that all things work together for good. We should embrace the fact that our culture makes such a big deal about Christmas and use it for good. As Advent approaches what can we do to be more like department stores in celebrating Jesus birth?