Friday, December 21

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Experiencing God as Joy: Consumerism
Scripture: Luke 2:10-11

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the holidays. There are feasts to prepare, family plans to make, pleasantries to be had, and many gifts to buy. It seems there is hardly a moment to just stop and breathe as the to-do lists continue to grow, despite the number of items you’ve checked off.

My family is very large, and finding gifts for everyone, every year, is expensive and time-consuming. We love each other and want to show that love, but by the time every gift is bought, we are exhausted and bitter. The enormous consumer culture that has evolved around Christmas has shadowed the goals of loving each other and God well, for which the season was intended.

In the passage, Luke was speaking to the shepherds, who are somewhere in the fields with their sheep looking into the night sky full of billions of stars. In this moment when the angel appears, he shows the shepherds a single night star, the one that is best for them to follow. It isn’t the stars leading to Orion’s belt on aisle 4, or to the Big Dipper, which can be found by the cutting boards in the next store over. It is the star that leads them to Bethlehem, where they find their connection to Jesus. The angel knows the guidance Jesus can bring to the shepherds and visits them with the good news that a new era of seeking joy with God has begun, and that it is worth pursuing.

Dear Lord, might we remember that this season is about loving well and remembering the great joy on which Christmas was founded. Let us not get lost in to-do lists and schedule crunches, but lean into the relationships we have built throughout the past year with others and with You. Amen.

~Zayna Pieper and Brendan Lynch