With Thanksgiving officially behind us now, our sons Eli and Dan worked together to put up a couple strings of colorful lights on the front of our house in Greeley. Our boys also pulled the totes of Christmas decorations out of the shed yesterday, and the plan this afternoon is to decorate – put up the trees, wreaths, candles, and other miscellaneous knick-knacks which are part of this festive season known fittingly as the hap-happiest time of the year.
There will be kids jingle-belling in our house – particularly in preparation for their first piano recital in a week or so.
But last night being Family Movie Night and Homemade Pizza Night, we had our neighbors the Chavezes over and watched Jon Favreau’s excellent seasonal flick, ‘Elf.’ And we like smiling. Smiling is our favorite.
It was a close call, though, with ‘A Christmas Story,’ ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ ‘The Santa Claus,’ ‘Jingle All The Way,’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ also in the running.
A Theology of Material Blessings
As I made up a watch list of Christmas movies on Prime Video, I found myself thinking of some things Moscow, Idaho Pastor Doug Wilson said recently in his podcast about Thanksgiving.
In that podcast episode, which you can find here at DougWils.com, Wilson points out the hazard to our spiritual health inherent to pietism. More specifically, too many Christians have grown anemic where a theology of material blessings is concerned because they unwittingly embraced a tradition of equating the “spiritual” with good and material things with de facto carnality.
No, we do not want to go along with the kind of materialism which rejects all supernatural claims as a lot of hokum. Darwinism is unfit for healthy Christian life and thought. So also, we reject egalitarianism unequivocally.
But neither do we want to so spiritualize everything that we miss worshiping God in our appropriate enjoyment of material blessings which a good Father gives to beloved children. Therefore, in order to worship God more fully in both spirit and truth, my house enjoys Christmas movies and Christmas cookies and Christmas decorations and Christmas music – and all to the glory of God.
By all means, let us be intentional. But let us be holistic in our intentionality, avoiding the twin perils of materialism and pietism.
‘Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and Heaven and nature sing!’
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