Blessings Instead of Cursings


Several years ago, a controversy erupted that was reported on ad nauseum by various and sundry cable news outlets. The controversy surrounded a decision by Target stores to eschew using the word "Christmas" in that year's marketing campaign in favor of more generic words like "Holiday" or "Season."

A plethora of Christian groups became incensed at this action--asserting that it was just another sign of the "war on Christmas."  

They also made the erroneous claim that Target was prohibiting its employees from even saying the words "Merry Christmas," and en masse called for a "Christian" boycott of Target stores.

I actually had friends on Facebook declaring that "true Christians" would shop at Wal-Mart instead, where (it was reported) the greeters and cashiers wouldn't get into trouble if they said the word "Christmas."

Honestly, I remember going to Target that year to shop for Christmas presents (I'm not really the boycotting type) and almost every employee wished me a Merry Christmas.  

Plus, my buying experience was better because Target actually hired enough seasonal employees to staff all of the cash registers...  [boom, roasted!]

I'm sure that Jesus got a good chuckle out of all of that.

Here's the thing.  For those of us who call ourselves Jesus-followers, this season of expectation should bring some new ways of imagining the world.

We should not be so quick to divide and to use the language of fear to describe the world Jesus loves and came to save.  We should instead use the language of hospitality and welcome. 

Walter Brueggeman writes that when we begin to figure this out and try to find what is common among us, it transforms everything:
But what happens to the children of truth and hope is that such conflicts lose their power over us and their interest for us as our fear of each other is dissipated in a common life of welcome.
May you spend these days of Advent seeking ways to bless the world around you, to light a candle and not curse the darkness.  May you find ways to welcome the Christ child and all those He loves, and in so doing change the world.

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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