Okay . . .  I am opening with a disclaimer!  Please understand, I am all for supporting the economy and I do not envy what it takes to keep a business afloat in these tough times. However, I invite you and your family to join me in asking a tough question about the society in which we live. How can we “keep Christmas” in such a way that honors the Way of Christ?

Yesterday our town shared our annual Christmas parade. Each year High School bands and beautiful floats have been crowded off Main Street by businesses using this opportunity to parade their wares.  This year a shiny fleet of cars from a local dealer glided by, complete with their own beauty queen. I kid you not!  The person standing next to me caught my rolling eyes and said, “Can you believe this?  There oughtta be a law against this kind of advertising! We always had great marching bands when we were young.”

Lately, I have been listening to words used in advertising and there is a new precedent.  The marketers have simply re-drawn the lines.  We can all now get a head start on Black Friday shopping:

“60% off One Item – Black Friday Starts Early!”

“Door busters? Why bust down the door, when you can shop early, (i.e. Thanksgiving Day)?”

So we won’t all be pulling a chair up to the table if we are working or shopping will we?   When we will give our consumption a rest?   Betsy Taylor founder and president of the New American Dream gets some insightful answers from children when she asked them, “what do you want they money can’t buy?”:

Money Can’t Buy . . .

“Rain.”

“A mud puddle to jump in.”

“the animals to be safe.”

“a clean park.”

“Friends, Fun, Good Times.”

“a smile.”

“… no more shootings and killings, just peace.”

“A Warm Sunny Day.”

“Money Can’t Buy ME”

Another kind of parade band, the funeral band, followed by the congregation, just walked by my office in Old Salem.  What a contrast!  But interestingly, the music was still bright. And the Christ’s offer of abundant life, of light in our darkness is a love that is matchless.   So as you gather around the table during Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas you might pose this same question.  To the question, ‘What do you want that money can’t buy  Elisa, aged 14, answers: “I want peace, a quietness for my soul.  An ease for my thoughts and a rest for my heart . . . I want faith.  To possess the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.”   Good tidings to you and your dear ones!

-The Rev. Lisa Mullen is the Director of Children and Family Ministries, Board of Cooperative Ministries for the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province.

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