Home > Blog, Faith > Christmas, Presents, and Life…

Christmas, Presents, and Life…

It’s that time of year again. The time that is apparently crucial for businesses to turn over as much product as possible so that they can stay financially viable for the following year. I’m not particularly cynical about the commercialisation of Christmas, I’ve grown up only knowing a commercial Christmas, so its part of the whole Christmas tradition. But this year, Christmas has had a different spin for me.

Unless we live with our head in a paper bag, we all know that the Christmas tradition has its’ origins 2000 years ago in a greeko-roman society where Jesus Christ was born. Any Judeo-Christian society today celebrates this, some a little more fanatical than others. This contrasts starkly against a Christmas I had in India 3 years ago where the day passed as little more than news item that evening observing the West’s obsession with this ‘festival’. Ironic given the nature of religious pilgrimages in India routinely number in the 100’s of millions.

The West’s obsession with this ‘festival’ however, has very little to do with it’s origins, and a lot to do with financial bottom line. It’s BIG, because it’s big money, not because a child was born in a manger heralding a new counter-institutional movement (that ironically was later institutionalised).

Commercialism aside, Christmas IS an event that is large on the calendar for us, and routinely revolves around family, the purchasing of gifts, BBQ’s, beaches, and eating way too much food.

This year Christmas has made me think differently.

When people have asked me what I want for Christmas this year (in an effort to buy a gift that is more than just a token gesture) I have been tempted to reply with ‘How about a cure for cancer?’. Given the fairly cynical nature of this response, I havent used it. But it has really hit home just how pretty  much any of the items purchased for me will have a lifespan that is longer than my own…

Unless it’s food…

  • This time next year, unless I’m extremely unfortunate, I should be celebrating Christmas….
  • This time in 2 years, if I’m good at fighting, I should be celebrating Christmas….
  • This time in 3 years, unless God Himself intervenes, I should be dead…..

How does THAT make me feel this Christmas???

It makes me feel great Happiness in the now, yet great Sadness at the future; It makes me realise that if material items can outlive me, then the living I have left is short.

Above all, this makes me realise how we totally sell out to the belief we need more stuff.

What we need, is more life.

What I need, is not to die…..

The prospect of limited life has made it a valuable commodity, and material goods a cheap add-on. But instead for most of us, it is the material goods that are the commodity and life that is taken for granted.

More Life is not just limited to a temporal measurement, More Life is also how we live it: it’s reaching out to those who suffer, despite the fact we also suffer; it’s making a difference in the lives around us; It’s building God’s Kingdom; it’s ironically giving up the priorities of your life for the priorities of someone else’s; it’s loving with no agenda;

…It’s knowing that even though I am dying, right now I’m still living…..

What you want for Christmas might be a playstation….

….

All I want for Christmas is to live…..

….

Merry Christmas.

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Categories: Blog, Faith Tags: , , , ,
  1. December 21, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Dear Jared,
    This is a beautiful blog, shared with such honesty. We never know for sure when our time is up, perfectly healthy people die in car accidents, eat something that is off and keel over. The challenge with cancer is that we enter the world of percentages and averages. Death suddenly takes up a big chair in the lounge. It does bring with it a certain amount of clarity that can lead to more living in a couple years than would have happened in the last 10. It does not however, make it any easier, it doesn’t take away the fear of the end, it does not give us back the carefree days that linger in our past and will never be a part of our future.
    Merry Christmas Jared. I pray for you and Hannah and I am wishing you both a wonderful Christmas together.

  2. Ruth Noel
    December 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Jared…..you are teaching us all how to live much richer and more meaningful lives right now. Thank you for your insights!
    Love you heaps. Mum and dad.

  3. Catherine Pettigrew
    January 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you Jared, expressing your thoughts is a great way to help us understand, it’s your gift to us.
    We pray that God will return your strength and health, we want you to be a surgeon, too.
    This time of year has two sad anniverseries for our family. and what with the publicity about road toll, drownings,etc. it is a real possibility that some of us will meet an untimely end. The question that is quietly at the back of my mind,is, “how do I pack a suitcase for another world?”
    Please give Hannah a big hug from the Pettigrews. Thanks for the reminder to live more abundantly.

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