My kids and I watched the Christmas episode of Paw Patrol the other day. Santa’s sleigh crashes in a blizzard because the star of Christmas (which magically lets the sleigh fly) has fallen off.
My first reaction was indignation. How can they trivialize such an obvious symbol from the Biblical Christmas story?
Christmas commercialism gone crazy
Christmas conjures up scenes of busy shopping centers, growing expenses, and children wanting more and presents. Oh yeah, and Christmas lights, Santa, and did I mention presents.
Janet Morana asks a good question in an opinion piece she wrote for Fox several years ago:
‘How did we go from that warm feeling about Christmas and knowing that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus, to the secular frenzy we have today?’
I hear from people who are concerned about the commercialization of the Christmas season. I love the way they want to ensure Christ is kept at Christmas, but I also wonder if this is God’s top priority.
It’s easy to feel indignant about the way Paw Patrol uses the star. I told my friends, who then complained about the commercialization. It felt like taking a stand. In hindsight, I think it was all a bit of hot air.
God is less worried about commercialism than you think
I’m convinced God is less bothered about Paw Patrol than I am.
He’s less concerned with the plastic star on the top of the tree, or over the nativity than you and I will ever be.
And there’s a good reason.
The star in the nativity story had a specific job. The star told the Wisemen of Jesus’ birth and guided them to him.
Putting up a nativity scene can be a good thing to do. It helps tell the story of why the Christmas season is so important. But it is only a passive retelling.
The Stars God wants this Christmas
I’m convinced the stars God really cares about this Christmas are living, embodied stars. They are you and me, everyday followers of Jesus. You see, Jesus asks us to do the same thing the star did when it led the wise men to Jesus.
Sure, Jesus doesn’t use the word ‘star’ but he wants us to do the same job as the star did all those years ago.
Shining this Christmas
I could give a list of ideas you could do, but I’m not going to.
Instead, look to Jesus. He noticed people. That’s Christmas in a nutshell. Jesus saw our brokenness and stepped down into it, knowing our only hope would cost him everything.
I went to a photo gallery with my 4 children. It was chaotic, me trying to control my 4 children, stopping them from wanting to run or yell. We talked to the photographer. The kids asked how he could take a photo of a leopard so close.
In the end my kids went up to the staff and said thanks for letting them look at the photos.
The woman looked at me and said “Wow. We’ve had hundreds of people come through today and no one else has stopped just to say ‘Thank you.’”
I replied “Well, that’s what Christmas is all about. It’s about God noticing you and Jesus coming.”
What will you do?
Sure, Christmas has become a commercial holiday for many. You can bemoan this, protest against it, mourn the loss of Christmas’ past.
Or you can let the light of Jesus shine within you this Christmas. You can tell others of him, help them see that Christmas tells the story of the God who sees them and steps into their world and lead people to rejoice and worship him.
I am a pastor, blogger and speaker. I help ordinary people connect with an extraordinary God, so they can follow Jesus in their everyday life.