I think about sustainability a lot. In farming, sustainability means
the ability to continue to produce using inputs that can be created
through management rather than purchase; to continue the process
without the use of resources which are finite. I like sustainability
in my Christmas, too.
If I were to define resources which are finite, I would include the
trappings of Christmas. Remember, I am not condemning the use of
these resources, I am simply stating that they are not unlimited. The
trappings of Christmas would include; gifts, Christmas trees,
ornaments-things that require money to purchase, labor to set-up or
even off-season storage space. Lisa and I employ these same symbols
of Christmas however we do not see these things as the reason for
Christmas. If we pursued Christmas joy as a commodity only attained
through purchase or display, we would be indebted and disappointed.
The effort we put out would be greater than the joy we experience.
Kind of like using $30 worth of chemical, fuel and fertilizer to
create $15 worth of vegetables-it would be unsustainable.
So what is a sustainable Christmas? I would say the most sustainable
part of Christmas is the inherent joy of the season. We celebrate
Christmas because we are so happy that God sent his son to grow to
adulthood, sling our sins over his shoulder and die for those same
sins. It costs nothing to internalize this act and to enjoy its
meaning in your life. To develop a deeper faith in God and deeper
understanding of Christmas requires you only read the Bible and
meditate on the words within it. The last Bible I purchased cost a
dollar and meditation is not yet taxable so these acts are highly
The fact that people still talk about the historic act of the birth of
Jesus is great testament to the sustainability of this event. I mean,
most historical figures have usually been maligned into oblivion by
historical revisionists in three or four centuries, tops. The birth of
Jesus has continued on with little more than word of mouth. Johannes
Gutenberg created movable type, which he then used to print the Bible.
This is one of the few positive acts I can see that ever supported
the story of Jesus. Most concentrated efforts are either to undermine
or dilute the story or its celebration. We don’t even call Christmas concerts
by their proper name; we now call them winter celebrations or
informances. Still the story exists and remains strong without
input which makes the story very sustainable.
Maybe the story of sustainability and the story of Christmas share a
common intersection. There are movements right now in America that
seems to exist on hearsay and little else. When you find the truth of
these movements, they cease to exist. There is nothing more difficult to sustain than a lie. I
watch people speak half-truths who work so hard to make you believe that perception
is reality. The truth is, reality is reality. Maybe that’s why
Christmas celebrated as the birth of Jesus is so easy to sustain. It
is the truth. Merry Christmas.