Department Store Jesus


Since we’re on the subject of Christmas, here is a refreshing offering from Matt Linton. While last minute shopping he stumbled upon the most ironic scene imaginable. As a result he was inspired to be an agent of change this holiday season.

So this Christmas season I want to ask you to join me in sharing the grace of the gospel: tip someone well even when you don’t get great service, let someone go ahead of you in line, let another shopper have that parking spot, smile and have kind word for the checkout lady (even if she won’t take your coupon). In the words of Brennan Manning and many that have come before him “live the Gospel” with everything that you do.

With that in mind, I’d love to hear ideas on how we can live subversively during the Christmas season. Are any of you “doing things differently” this year? Has anyone had the courage to propose an end to gift giving altogether? What have been your experiences in your attempts to “redeem” Christmas?


4 thoughts on “Department Store Jesus

  1. hi there

    i work as a youth slash pastory guy at a small vineyard church in the town of Stellenbosch, outside of Cape Town, in South Africa and for the last 6 or 7 years i have been part of doing something different to try and make Christmas less about the painful commercialism and more about helping those in need.

    the one year i worked out how much i would approximately spend on buying ‘junk’ for a bunch of people wh don’t even need it for the most part and the whole ‘because i have to’ syndrome which i hate so much and found two families through the mission (City Mission) my mom works with and donated the money to them (which probly went towards buying groceries and being able to live a little more easily for a short while, as opposed to buying luxuries and gifts) – the biggest shock was probably working out just how much i would have spent on others…

    then for the two or three years i invited all the people on my mailing list (send out a weekly Christian email called ‘Thort for the week’ aimed at challenging Christians to live out what we say we believe) to come and join on Christmas day after the morning service and between 8 and 12 of us got together and made sandwich packs (a lot of other people in various churches donated money or food) and then drove around the neighborhood at lunch time looking for homeless/poor people we could greet and share a small meal with (amazing how much harder it seems to be to find the homeless when you’re looking for them)

    and then last year (and it’s happening again this year, altho i am overeseas visiting family in Americaland) i joined with a lady in our church (and this year at least one other church in the area joining with us in running it) in throwing a dinner for between 150 and 200 homeless/poor people in our church building – and not just a typical ‘give the worst of our stuff to the poor – we talking roast meat and veggies and a really decent dessert’ and it was really amazing last year seeing such a variety of people firstly just donating stuff to the meal but even more so coming and being a part of it – from kids to youth to families to old people – giving up (in a sense) their Christmas lunch to come and present those who don’t have the means with a meal and some love and encouragement…

    the gift-giving (to those who have everything they need and pretty much most of what they want) is the easiest thing to cut out cos when you get a glimpse of people who don’t have at all you will hopefully be sickened by your excess and the worthlessness of that traditional part of the season – say ‘i love you’ to your family this Christmas time by teaching/demonstrating with them the true meaning of God’s love for anyone who is lost or needy or lonely…

  2. I can’t remember where I read this concept, but so often we say no for someone before we even give them an opportunity to hear the question. This is a story about one instance where I gave my company an opportunity to say yes.

    A month or so ago I was chatting with my boss about our Christmas tradition at work. Every year our department exchanges ornaments and goes out eat at a nice restaurant. I told her that it would be nice if this year, instead of focusing on ourselves, we went out to our pasta plant in Detroit, and gave them gifts, and took them out to eat.

    They work in really rough conditions (in comparison), and in a really rough neighborhood. My boss asked the owner, and they both thought it was a great idea! So yesterday we all went out to Detroit and gave them gifts and took them to Fishbones.

    You wouldn’t believe how grateful they were. They kept thanking us and telling us how special they felt. I can’t tell you how good I felt about that!

    (More Here)

  3. My husband and I just celebrated our 5th Chanukah, but not the way most people celebrate it. Considering that the holiday originated out of the cleansing and rededication of the temple in Jerusalem, we use it as a time to rededicate our hearts and lives to the Lord. It has taken all of the materialism out of the holidays and placed the celebration back onto the Lord.

  4. next year i’m doing the donate money to an organization on behalf of someone, or the oxfam gift thing. and i know my family will just kind of look at me and go “oh…gee…thanks” but tough noogies!

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