Merry $mas

December 22, 2010

Among other things, the Bible is all about refraining from idol worship. Ask fourth graders about their idols. Football players. Pop stars. Cartoons. Some anorexic chick on the front of Seventeen magazine.

How many would name Jesus as their idol? A few I suppose. You know, those poor Catholic school kids haunted by raised rulers and swirling wrath.

Who else? How many of you adults consider Jesus an idol? Is that your only one? What about those miraculous Spanx keeping you smooth in your Christmas dress?

I’m in a cafe listening to these materialistic but entertaining women discuss their diamond rings, their bags, etc. This isn’t anything new especially in an affluent part of the country (this isn’t as big of an issue in Mid-Michigan), but it’s hilarious because many of these women are the type of women who claim Christianity because it too is a symbol.

These women will park their Land Rovers in a church lot Friday or Saturday, walk their little designer boots (type varies according to region) into the lobby — excuse me,  first their husband or some other obligated man will open the door for them so as not to disturb the tall skinny latte in their right hands or the behemoth bags resting on their left forearms — rush into the prayer room or whatever it is, daydream during the service while sipping said latte and get the hell out before the dreadful “meet your neighbor moment.”

Perhaps I’m projecting myself on others but, according to the Washington Post, retail revenues are up 5.5 percent from 2009 this Christmas season and, at least where I come from, this revenue is supporting other idols — clothes, cars, engagement rings, vacations. Anything but Jesus.

I’m having a really hard time getting through the rest of the Bible so I need to grab hold of randomness like idol worship. The girl sitting across from me has on Nike with a big swoosh, a Mountain Hardwear fleece, a Droid and Fossil jeans. I hate when companies place their labels on the outside of clothing, but if I put my clothes on inside out today, same situation.

Unless I missed the glowing bulbs, reindeer holding birdhouses (?), santas and creepy nutcrackers snuggled in the manger with Jesus in the middle of the New Testament, every single person in this cafe is worshiping some anti-Christ idol.

My parents’ house looks like the North Pole. Every room, every blanket, every picture, every decoration replaced by something Christmas-like. It’s fantastic. However none of it has anything to do with Jesus. Admittidly, we’re not relgious. My dad went to Catholic school, an abusive and terrifying experience, but us kids are heathens.

My mom tried to give us a dose of Jesus (it’s his birthday after all), but it didn’t work. For a few years, she  kept this horrid painting of Jesus in the guest room. Eventually we convinced her to get rid of it. I literally couldn’t fall asleep with that sadistic Mona Lisa looking at me.

A few days ago, I asked my mom what happened to creepy Jesus. She said she didn’t know so I asked if she had anything other than the glittery angel ornaments my sister and I made when we were kids in any of the six of 11 first-floor rooms decorated for “Christmas.”

We searched. This is what we found. Upside down. Behind a ladder in the garage.

Out of respect I cleaned up the poor guy, righted him, but couldn’t do anything about the crack in the glass.

This is Christmas. Right? Obviously the commercialization of Christ is as old as the day is long but every year it blows my mind and I have to write about it especially because Christians are not supposed to worship other idols.

I have some idols, none of which have to do with Christ but so does everyone else so what happens to those Christians? Are they nixed? So American Christians don’t exist?

Well, at least we can be charitable during the season, think of other people and their hardships. I do it all the time. I mean, my heart bleeds for the guy sitting across from me. Here I am clicking away on a Mac while he clunks away on a TOSHIBA! I have no idea how the poor soul gets any work done.

Stopping Point: Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians


8 Responses to “Merry $mas”

  1. TN Lizzie said

    Oh, Ivy. I think you are looking for Love in all the wrong places.

    Have you looked in any stables?

    Don’t you remember reading the book of Luke, chapter 2?

    The angel said to [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

    If you look, you will find Him.

    • thumpme said

      I was more or less kidding. That was just an observation in a cafe. I just find the contradiction humorous. Everyone getting ready for “Christmas” by buying things.

  2. marg said

    Having things and worshiping things are two different things. The Bible tells us that God looks at the heart. The heart is where the real issue is and one can’t tell by looking at the outside of a person whether their heart is right or not.

    Christians can have nice things. The questions are: Do they praise God for them and use them for His honor and glory (as in, make good use of it)? Would God be able to take it away from them without them getting angry etc.? Are they prideful about owning it? Would they be willing to share it? Questions like that reveal whether something one possesses is an idol to them or not.

    Christmas is a prime time for materialism. That can an idol, too, of a different nature. In my old age, I long for simplicity. I totally agree with the current statement “less is more”. But even that can be an idol! Am I going to make those I live with miserable until I get the simplicity I want in my house? (hopefully not 🙂 )

    Basically, anything we set our heart on apart from God, is an idol. So many of us quite often fall short of God’s standard in this area as well. But thankfully, God’s grace even covers those times.

  3. jmiddlin said

    Wait a sec. This is sounding nice…

    Warm boots, big coffee, daydreaming for an hour?

    I should be at church.

  4. Laura said

    A frighteningly astute and observant critique of Christendom in western (or at least American) culture. Thank you for this. I wish more Christians would actually take words like these to heart and see how messed up our “celebration” and “worship” of Christ and his birth has become.

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