What are you hoping for as we celebrate Christmas 2012 and race into a turbulent 2013?

— by Tom Sine —


I am pretty certain that the marketers of the global mall want us to believe that there are no limits to economic growth on our shrinking planet.  And there should be no shrinking of our appetites for “more” either, in spite of the reality that we would need 4 to 5 planets to provide resources for all people to join the party that many of us have come to view as our birthright.“Want to be the ultimate Santa this year?”  “Believe” heralds a Macy’s ad with lavish diamond and sapphire jewelry, in the New York Times.  But it isn’t clear what we are supposed to “believe.”  {New York Times, Sunday, December 23, 20i2, p. 17}

“Overconsumption is destroying us, yet shopping is our solace or sedative: consumerism is the opiate of the masses.” Declares Kalle Lasn the editor of Adbusters Magazine  in an article in the same Issue of the New York Times as the ad that invites us to “Believe.” Adbusters promotes a Buy Nothing Christmas.  {Jeff Sommer, “The War Against Too Much of Everything,” Sunday Business, New York Times, Sunday December 23, 2012, p. 1}

So what are you hoping for as we end 2012 and enter a very turbulent 2013?  What is your hope for your own life, your family’s lives and your neighbors locally and globally?  This is a very important question for the followers of Jesus in times like these.  As we race to an increasingly uncertain new year there is growing concern we could go over the fiscal cliff…possibly triggering a new recession.  There is also increasing concern that our endless quest for “more” is also increasing the rate of climate change.

Can we settle for simply buying unquestioningly into the pursuit of “more” now and disembodied heaven in the clouds by and by?

New Testament theologian NT Wright argues that neither the pursuit of “more” now nor a disembodied existence in the clouds is not the hope that scripture invites us to give our lives to.  Rather he argues convincingly out of scripture in his book, Surprised by Hope that our creator God invites to embrace a hope in which we come home to a new heaven and a new earth not as disembodied spirits but rather as a great bodily resurrected community.

This is a hope in which not only we are changed personally but one in which society is transformed  as well. It is a future in which healing finally comes to the broken, Justice for the poor, peace to the nations and God’s good creation is restored.

But scripture forcefully reminds us that this is more than a hope it is a vision to which we are invited to devote our entire lives.  Any takers?  {N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, New York: Harper One, 2008.}

What are you hoping for as we celebrate Christmas 2012 and race into a turbulent 2013?