Now don’t take this the wrong way, I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge, I think there should be a movement among Christian folks to switch gift giving from Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to Epiphany. What is Epiphany? Why would I suggest such a thing? I’m not alone in this idea. Look it up and you will see that many countries celebrate Epiphany and the giving of gifts. Epiphany (manifestation) or Theophany (vision of God), has traditionally fallen on January 6 and is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of Jesus, God’s Son, as a human being. Many Christians commemorate the visit of the Magi, following a vision and a quest to follow a star to find the infant Jesus, and so he was manifest to the Gentiles. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. Myrrh was commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense was a perfume, and gold – well gold is very valuable. They have a spiritual meaning too. Gold is a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense is a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death. Another take on that is described by gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering. My point is that Christians have become so caught up in the consumerism of Christmas, that rather than complaining about consumerism we could do something about it.
What if we waited? What if we celebrated God’s gift to us at Christmas as a spiritual celebration and gave gifts to each other on Epiphany. Better yet, give gifts to the poor on Christmas, serve the needy on Christmas, help strangers on Christmas and then share gifts with loved ones on Epiphany. Change the focus. It seems like many people have trees up before Thanksgiving and take them down the afternoon of Christmas Day. There credit cards bulge with debt. Let’s just stop!
I’ll be in the minority but I’m going to say it. Don’t ever give me a gift for Christmas again. Give your gifts to the poor. If you want to give me something save it for Epiphany. Let’s make a change, let’s begin a movement to take back Christmas from those who have declared war on the spiritual importance of Christmas and made it an occasion for gorging ourselves in consumption. This isn’t intended to be a rant as much as a challenge. Could Christians muster enough consumer power to change it all. It would be interesting to see.