Found my way to Walmart yesterday while in Saskatoon. Came without a jacket (never pack for a three day trip on Monday morning at 6 a.m. when you are a pastor with an 18 hour Sunday) and a few other things that are necessary for survival. So, go to your friendly neighbourhood Walmat at 8:00 a.m. and go shopping. One thing – no trouble finding a cart and lots of room to shop as there was absolutely no one there. Need to find a sales clerk – not a problem – they are like vultures trying to find you as you are the only customer in the store. And this is as late as 8:00 a.m. They open at 7:00 a.m. Wonder who’s there at that hour of the day?
Noticed something as soon as I walked in – the insipid Christmas music was playing. Elevator Christmas music. Revolting Christmas music that has nothing to do with winter, Christmas, Christ or anything that is of any value on the face of the earth. Rock Around the Christmas Tree, Roudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, and a number of country and western tunes I did not recognize – and don’t want to know about. However, Halloween is over and so the next money grabber is Christmas. Wonder if people will go into debt for this annual event with the way things are going in the economy these days? Think they are that stupid? Want my opinion – let’s not go there.
I want to start a revolution. Let’s go back to the old fashion Christmas where people made gifts for one another and put a lot of love and thought into them – as well as time – but not necessarily a lot of money. My wife and I have been doing this now for several years – running Christmas on a very limited budget on purpose. It is not a lack of funds that is causing us to do this – we simply made a choice.
One year we did Christmas for a family of 22+ (now even bigger with 2 grandchildren born in the past two weeks) with points earned at Shoppers Drugs, Mastercard, and Zellers. This last year my wife knit and sewed things for almost everyone (a little more expensive – but heavy on the love). This year I’m thinking we will use some of the 3/4 of a million Aeroplan miles I have accumulated now that the older ones will soon be stale dated. For three years – if not four – we have ended the Christmas season with no debt arising out of the festivities and have seriously enjoyed Christmas more this way as we know there will be absolutely no sweat when the Visa statement comes in. It all starts with a choice.
Let’s admit it – is there anything you really need for Christmas? When I was a kid it was PJ’s, socks, underwear and hankerchiefs (remember them). Maybe a toy or a book. Now everyone has all the basics of life and if they don’t they don’t wait for Christmas to buy them – they use their credit card and buy what they need right away. So, maybe it is time for Christmas to go back to well thought out gifts that are made or selected with some deep thought and creativity. Gifts of love and not gifts of convenience or necessity.
So, I’m asked – “What do you want for Christmas?” Nothing, thanks – don’t need more clothes as I buy everything I wear (and I am well dressed) at Walmart and Mark’s Work Wearhouse a nd Giant Tiger when they are on sale. I don’t need another book as I have a hundred I have already bought and have not had time to read – 95 of which will still be unread at Christmas – the other 5 will be read as I fly to various preaching venues in the coming 6 weeks before Christmas. I don’t need anything, thank you. And, really, I don’t want anything either. Can’t think of one thing I might like or would use. Makes me hard to buy for. Right! Now you are getting the picturte. Don’t buy me anything. Hugs are free. A phone call is free. A cup of coffee and a chat is inexpensive (I don’t like Starbucks).
I know what I want for Christmas – a whole day with the Lord uninterrupted by emergencies, teachings to prepare, and ministry to do! And that, folks, will be my gift to myself. Along with not entering Walmart again until that insipid music comes to an end.