December 12 ~ The Righteousness Wilderness

two candlesWhen exactly did the righteousness war on Christmas begin? You know. When the righteous declared you were censoring Christmas if you said “Happy Holidays” and bemoaned that traditional Christmas carols were deleted from the mall Musak.

Righteousness has nothing to do with saying “Merry Christmas”, putting up a nativity scene in the town square, or singing carols anywhere. Righteousness, however, does have a lot to do with right behavior.

Advent Scripture

As Isaiah continues his vision of the peaceful – and righteous – kingdom on earth:

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt around his loins. ~ Isaiah 11:4-5

Advent Action

Is this righteousness?

Supporting overspending and mass consumption messaged by the spend, spend, spend culture? (Americans will spend more than $450 billion on Christmas.)

Creating Hallmark moments instead of a hallmark lifestyle. (Searching for sentiment versus a distinctive life of excellence.)

Equating love with the price of the gift. (He loves me. He loves me not.)

Dropping off a bag of canned goods for the Food Pantry with no thought to the hungry the rest of the year. (The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that one in eight worldwide were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.)

Worrying about finding the best bargain when millions worldwide are without clean water, medicine, or are homeless. (There are 22,000 homeless children in New York City alone.)

Buying cheap products without concern about the person who made it, their working conditions, their pay, or even their age. (An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world, including the United States. 120 million are working full-time to support their families.)

Advent Prayer

Before I point the righteousness finger at someone else, help me to first look into my own heart. Amen.

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