The commercialization of Christmas in the USA is undeniable. It’s disheartening to witness the inner urge and pressure many Americans, including friends and family, feel to indulge in extensive gift-giving. The expectation to not just give one gift, but often, three, five, or even more, is excessive. Personally, I find myself fortunate to possess a different perspective. Spending a significant part of my year in Third World nations has granted me insight into a happier and more meaningful approach to this season.
Contrasting the American frenzy, so many people I know outside the United States will celebrate the holiday with a focus on the core values of family and community. Their Christmas day will revolve around visiting loved ones, attending church services, and, if they have a little extra money, they will sit down for a modest dinner.
Last Christmas I was in El Salvador. The holiday was uniquely meaningful. I spent Christmas driving over to the dirty brothels in San Salvador. I walked the streets lined with half-naked prostitutes. I distributed “Bags of Love” filled with essential toiletries, Bibles, and gospel tracts. I took time to listen to their stories, cry with them, and share the message of Christ Jesus’ love. It turned out to be one of the most significant and impactful Christmas’ of my life.
Do I have needs? Oh yes! I could run down a list of many things I need. However, when it comes to wants, I find contentment in Christ Jesus. God has proven time and again that He takes care of my needs, and sometimes wants, in the most astonishing ways that overflow my faith with encouragement, leaving me with a heart brimming with gratitude.
To everyone reading this, regardless of your location in the world, I hope you will make time to reflect on Christ this Christmas. I hope you discover the true meaning of the season and truly enrich yourself with the right priorities. There is a profound sense of peace and contentment in memorializing Christ's sacrifice and resurrection for your sins. There is peace and contentment that can be found in connecting with family and friends, as well as in cherishing life over material possessions. This Christmas, may you experience the tranquility that comes from embracing these deeper, more meaningful aspects of the holiday.