Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Shopping Justice

Reverend Billy is an offbeat preacher who tackles the consumerism of Christmas that we often hear about, but done in a humorous manner. I had heard how he refers to the coming "Shopapocalypse" with a chuckle, and read that Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me even financed a limited release film called "What Would Jesus Buy?"

All this to say is that Tammy and I have been discussing more about how we can transform the dynamic of Christmas, particularly when it comes to gift giving. I think we realized we can't necessarily change people's own expectations and values regarding Christmas, but we can change our own understanding and practice. We can change how we think about gift giving, and particularly, what and where we give.

For instance, instead of just coming up with a wish list of things that only benefit ourselves, we can ask for things that impact the community, like (for me) seeds that go towards a garden program that contributes to feeding low income families.

For buying gifts, being aware of where I'm shopping from points towards stores that practice fair trade, benefit survivors or developing economies in the world, or supporting local businesses. Facebook has an "Unconventional Christmas Shoppers" with a list of organizations, and Pasadena actually has a Ten Thousand Villages on Lake Ave.

In the end, it's not about decrying shopping and gift giving in general but allowing it to be transformed by Kingdom values. These are just some small steps to seeking the Kingdom in this area of our lives.


wendy said...

Beautiful entry, Jesse. I think it's recognizing responsibility in the seemingly small details like our consumerism that can really contribute to the movement. The message of Romans 12:2 is really radical stuff. We are held accountable for every decision that we make. It's the stirring of this consciousness to be fair and to ask questions of where something comes from or what was required to produce it that will bring reality to seeking this justice.

Victor said...

I agree with Wendy that this entry is very meaningful. As I get older, I realize more and more just how much even one person can make a difference just by a simple change in perspective.
Gift giving is part of Christmas, but it doesn't have to be selfish in nature. It, along with everything else, can be used to glorify God and further His kingdom.