“Santa Claus is comin' and the kids are gettin' greedy
It's Christmas time
They know what's in the stores 'cause they seen it on the TV
It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time
It used to be the birthday of the Man who saved our necks
It's Christmas time
Now it stands for Santa Claus they spell it with an X
It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time...”
from Christmas Time by Larry Norman
In his rocked up Christmas ditty, Christmas Time, Larry Norman out this finger on the empty madness of the season. Traffic gridlock. Car Parks full. Long lines in the stores. Tempers short. Stress high. Spend, spend, spend. Christmas is when the world reveals what the world lives for. Things. Consuming. Things. Accumulating. We have just had what has been called Cyber Monday with retailers hope consumers will take advantage of a flurry of sales and discounts. Visa expected £450m to be spent, with 7.7 million online transactions. Amazon hopes for over 3.5 million orders! Last week the Pope said “Mass consumption is mass destruction because it turns citizens into parasitic consumers.” Christmas is a Seasonal pilgrimage for parasite consumption.
The title track of Sufjan Stevens’ 2012 Christmas record, Silver and Gold is as you can tell not a sentimental little song of tinsel and bobble. This is a song that judges the great delusion of the modern era, maybe every era, and in its damning critique delivered in gentle melody Sufjan illuminates truth to live by. As the world settles for vain treasures that are momentary and ultimately without substance Stevens asks God to come in rage to judge the treasure we store.
“Lord, come with fire. Lord, come with fire.
Everyone’s wasting their time
Storing up treasure in vain.
Trusting the pleasure it gives here on earth.”
- from Silver And Gold from Sufjan Stevens
We need to ask ourselves this Advent if we are putting our faith and trust in what silver and gold can buy. It is treasure in vain.
The Advent story, where God, The King of Kings, arrives on earth in a bed of straw as opposed to a palace and before he knows it is taking flight as a refugee to Egyot suggests that there is another reality kicking in. Underneath the utter commercial madness of Christmas lies an alternative story where the poor are the blessed and the rich have already received their comfort (Luke 6: 20 & 24).
Jesus said in the Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 6):
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What are we seeking? We are investing in this Christmas?