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By John D. Pierce

holidaysThe number of “shopping days ’til Christmas” keeps counting down. This narrowing stretch of time tends to bring excitement or frenzy or frustration — or combinations of those feelings and others.

Some interesting dynamics take place during this time of year. They are worth noting by taking a few steps back and looking at what is transpiring around us.

One shift, for example, is that many American Christians have moved from criticizing the commercialization of Christmas — once a familiar and appropriate concern — to expecting commercial enterprises to be the bearers of the Christmas story that was first given to lowly shepherds, not prominent merchants.

The Great Commission, as we call Jesus’ parting words to spread the Good News widely, was imparted to his faithful followers — not to industry or government. But expectations of many modern American Christians suggest otherwise.

Rather than passing the buck or declaring self-victimization, perhaps our better response to advancing the Gospel of grace and hope would be akin to the prophet Isaiah’s affirmation: “Here am I, send me.”

It sounds much more faithful than, “Let’s insist that everybody appease us this holiday… umm, I mean … Christmas season.”

And as Jesus said, “Better not pout.”

Uh…wait. It was, “Follow me.”

But pouting doesn’t help us to follow Jesus more faithfully. In fact, it gets in the way.

 

 

John Pierce

About John Pierce

John D. Pierce is editor of Nurturing Faith Journal — the signature publication of Baptists Today, Inc. He is also publisher of Nurturing Faith Books and Resources. Previously he served as managing editor of The Christian Index and as Baptist campus minister at Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University. A native of Ringgold, Ga., he is a graduate of Berry College (B.A.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Columbia Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He speaks frequently in churches, consults with congregations concerning communications and holds interim pastorates.