The Gospel Herald recently shared some statements by Billy Graham in which he provides some helpful tips for keeping Christ at the center of Christmas celebrations. According to Graham, people are far too likely to forget the meaning behind the holiday that they are celebrating. More specifically, people are sometimes too likely to forget Who they are celebrating.
First, according to Graham, it is important to set aside concrete time each day to meditate on the birth of Christ. And when eating together with family, Graham recommends pausing to thank God for the gift of your food and to thank him for the greatest gift to humanity — the gift of Jesus Christ.
Another recommendation for Graham is to not get trapped in the habit of overspending. Overspending, Graham reminds us, is actually a spiritual problem.
Graham asks, "...how often do you end up buying more than you intended to buy, or spending more than you intended to spend? And how often do you end up angry or frustrated or exhausted, because you've had to fight the crowds or spent too much time searching for one last present?"
"Be thoughtful about your gifts, also; don't try to impress someone or win their goodwill by buying something you really can't afford (and they don't really need)."
He concluded, "The most important thing you can do, however, is to put Christ at the center of your Christmas-and your life."
Graham's statements reflect the sentiment of Pope Francis, who often uses homilies to promote simplicity of life and denounce materialism.
During his Christmas homily in 2015, Francis warned the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to not be "intoxicated" by material possessions. Christians should practice "sobriety," he says, in a world drunk with "consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance."
"In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential," he said, according to BBC News.
“In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion, and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer," he added.
Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI often referred to consumerism as the lure of "false idols." Overconsumption, he taught, is a "poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are and distort the purpose for which we have been created."
In breaking news, here's what President Trump is doing to combat the California fires.