Christmastime – Simplicity vs. Extravagance

In the spirit of advent and wanting to prepare my heart for celebrating Christ’s coming, I’ve been thinking about the concept of simplicity in our holiday activities. The idea that God’s children need to scale back the outward trappings of Christmastime in an effort to deepen our inward focus on the Reason for the season seems to be a popular one in some circles right now, and I’ve been mulling over whether or not that’s the lifestyle the season indeed calls for. I’m still contemplating, and I’m torn between two types of thinking on this.

On one hand, it seems like wisdom to say no to a lot during the holiday season. Perhaps Jesus is so crowded out of our hearts by the busy pace, stressful schedules, major purchasing, compelling consumerism, and overwhelming to-do lists running our lives that we desperately need to make some tough decisions and simplify our calendars, our spending, our decorating, etc. so as to make more room for Him. That very well may be what he’s calling many of us to do. A more simple celebration of Christ might be more in line with the spirit of the first Christmas, when the coming of our King took place in the most simple setting imaginable, involving some pretty simple characters. Clearly, there was nothing fancy about the birthplace. You can’t get more plain than a barn. And the majority of people God involved in his Son’s birth story had humble occupations, with nothing special about them from man’s point of view. They led simple lives, and their worship of the Christ child was simple. I get that.

But I can’t forget the many examples of extravagance to be found in the Christmas story – Continue reading