Today I went to the mall…not for gifts, but to get out of the house with my two young boys. Malls, as I discovered in Pittsburgh, can be a great place in the winter time. It’s warm, it’s big, and there’s plenty of food and distractions. All things good for kids. That’s what brought me to the mall today.
But being the Christmas season, the mall was packed with shoppers. It was kind of fun to be a part of it, though I wasn’t doing any shopping. The hustle, the bustle. The Christmas music playing over the loudspeakers. Santa Claus taking pictures with good little boys and girls. Moms, dads, and grandads on cell phones asking “what does he want for Christmas?” or “Does he already have one of these?”
I love Christmas. I love the lights, I love the chill in the air and the first sight of snow flakes. I love a good fire blazing in the fireplace. I love Christmas trees. I love the holiday movies, ice skating, making cookies, snuggling up in scarves and hats. I love the carols, the decorations, the parties, and did I say cookies?
It is truly a wonderful, cozy, romantic time of year. But I can’t help but notice how commercialized it has gotten. How pointless it seems to be buying gifts for people who already have so much stuff that we have to ask “does he already have one?”
Yes, it has become quite the commercialized holiday and today brought just a little more evidence. Strolling past a store window I noticed a familiar little Christmas tree. A closer look and I realized it was Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. No, not the one from our living room. The real one. Complete with Linus’s blanket as the tree skirt!
Seriously?! What is going on here people?
There is something really wrong when a store is selling a tiny pathetic-looking fake tree made famous by a Christmas cartoon movie expressing concern about the commercialism of Christmas. And I thought we were letting Charlie down by buying a tree from Costco! (See my last post.)
When I got home I looked it up online and sure enough, Amazon, Walgreens, K-Mart— they all sell them.
Where is Linus now? Where is that a thumb sucking blanket carrying little boy to remind us what Christmas is all about?
Sometimes Christmas doesn’t feel like it’s really about Christ. Maybe that’s because He’s not as marketable. Christ doesn’t bring gifts for good little boys and girls. Jesus was just a baby born in a stable, lying a manger, visited by Shepherds. He doesn’t ride a cool sleigh pulled by eight reindeer or slide down chimneys with his big red bag quietly placing presents under Christmas trees. He doesn’t jiggle his belly saying “Ho Ho Ho” and pass out candy canes. That is Santa Claus, the new face of Christmas.
Later, as I was driving home from the mall I saw someone in a blue Santa suit jumping around and holding a sign that read “Holiday Sale” with an arrow pointing to the left. Why the blue suit? I can only guess it had something to do with the company or the product he was selling.
“I’m sure glad they didn’t make Jesus the salesman for Christmas,” I thought.
If Santa is the spokesman for Christmas, perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing.