So observed Dave Barry, humor columnist for the Miami Herald, in an October column.
It seems every year the Xmas music and advertising starts earlier. Maybe the advertising execs and retail business managers all concluded that people were not thinking about the birth of Jesus early enough in the year? Maybe the moon is also made of green cheese!
This time of the year means big bucks for retailers. The really big push begins on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. Some businesses take in fully half of their annual sales in the four weeks between the two holidays. For a lot of them, their survival depends on filling the aisles with Xmas shoppers.
Surveys show that Americans will spend, on average, around $700 per person—and the British approximately £900. “Six years ago, according to Switch, the debit card company, each person in the land spent, on average, at Christmas, £710. This year , the figure is £862, a 20 per cent rise. In spite of only one in two of us possessing even meager savings and only 8 per cent earning over £40,000, at Christmas, we happily rack up £10 billion worth of debt on a credit-card bonanza” (The Observer (London), Dec. 15, 2002).
These are the four stressful weeks in which millions fight traffic and mall crowds seeking the perfect gifts at the perfect price. Then the other shoe drops in January when the credit card bills arrive. Many people spend, on average, four to six months paying off their Xmas shopping debts.
Let us offer you a simple plan to avoid the stress and debt burden. Before we tell you what that plan is, let me ask you some questions. What if someone wanted to throw a big birthday bash for a friend of yours—but they did it several months away from his actual birthday? And what if he didn’t want them to, but they did anyway and nobody talked with or about him at the party. And, of all things, they brought gifts and gave them to each other! Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Yet that’s a pretty good description of Xmas.
Now the plan to avoid all the stress of this holiday season: Contact all the people you normally give gifts to and tell them that you love them—and that you also deeply love Jesus Christ. Then inform them that you do not see where Xmas really honors Christ and that you have decided to forego the giving of gifts this year and that you would appreciate it if they would do the same towards you in this season.
It will take courage for you to take such a stand, but you will be relieving yourself of a lot of needless stress and financial burden. Some won’t like what you are doing. But others will be glad, because now they won’t have to buy you a gift. And a few will secretly admire you and wish they had the nerve to do the same!
But there is an even more important issue than finances to consider. You see, not only does Xmas not honor Christ; it dishonors all that He stands for. Its origin goes back to a time long before His birth. Check it out for yourself in almost any encyclopedia!
If you would like to look further into this important subject, request or download our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? You’ll likely be amazed at what you’ll discover!