May You Have A Tech-Free Christmas

Family opening Christmas presents

By: Brad Huddleston

Have you ever been asked, “What did Santa bring you for Christmas?” For Christians, gift-giving for Christmas has nothing to do with a calorically challenged man wearing a tacky red suit and donning a fake beard. A man called Saint Nicholas back in the fourth century was rumored to be generous and performed miracles for poor people. That legend morphed into the modern myth of a rotund man who travels the world once a year in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. As a hunter, I wish they would fly over my neck of the woods.

I digress.

The Christian tradition of giving gifts is traced back to the wise men who followed a star to find Jesus. According to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” And the star they saw in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-2, 9b-11 (NLT) The Scripture does not say these men purchased these gifts at a local big box store or online. After all, they were wise. For them, giving gifts was not the fruit of commercialism but an act of worship.

Last year, CNBC’s headline said it all: “Inflation? Recesson? Starting Black Friday, Holiday Shoppers Are Planning to Spend.” And boy, were they correct. On November 26, 2022, USA Today reported that in the US, $9.12 billion was spent in one day, a new Black Friday record. Also interesting is that 48% of online sales were conducted on a smartphone, up from 44% in 2021. Despite the worldwide economic gloomy news, Salesforce reported that Cyber Week 2022 saw $281 billion in global online sales. This is an excellent example of how integrated the digital world is into our daily lives.

Unfortunately, the commercialization of one of the most sacred “holy day” seasons is alive and well. God came into the world to capture our hearts. But, for far too many of us, “things” have captured our affection. “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT) Every Christmas season, technology is at the top of the gift-giving list. However, giving gifts known to be addictive is a far cry from God’s original intent.

To say that our ministry goes against the culture is an understatement. Nevertheless, now and again, the Lord sends encouragement our way. For example, we recently received a report from a pastor noting that after his congregation heard me speak, a couple decided against giving a Nintendo Switch to their kids for Christmas. That is a powerful act of worship that God will no doubt honor. This year, I encourage you to enjoy your family in the presence of Immanuel, God With Us. May you have a digital-free Christmas.

For more information, visit bradhuddleston.com. While there, be sure to check out my new book, Digital Rehab: Learning to Live Again in the Real World.

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