Thursday, December 5, 2013
Getting vs Giving: Messages of Consumerism and Singing Angels - Jeff Wiersma
In this season of Advent, of preparation and expectant hoping, the prophets of old and the angels who sang to the shepherds speak to us of God's peace and joy.
But we are relentlessly bombarded with consumerist messages designed to make us feel anxious and lacking. They try to tell us that what we have and who we are isn't good enough; that joy can only be found in endlessly trying to get more and more and more; that we need to look out for ourselves first and foremost.
The message of joy and peace that the angels sang interrupted a sleepy night for the shepherds. In the same way, it is a counter-narrative that interrupts the constant marketing propaganda, proclaiming good news for all people in the form of something given to the entire world - a child.
Like the shepherds, we need to be open to surprising ways that God comes to us in our own time; as the widow, the orphan, the refugee, the oppressed, the exploited, the weak, the sick, the powerless and voiceless.
Looking to get more and more narrows our focus on just ourselves, often at the expense of others (be they our next door neighbor or someone on the other side of the world, who is on the receiving end of global labor force bottom-feeding and climate change "externalities") and our home planet.
This season's message of giving interrupts that and widens our focus to other fellow image-bearers of God. God's free gift to the world is part of the mission to let love rule; a mission toward having mercy, justice, peace and joy reign.