Theology 101

Selfies, Stewardship, and the Real Meaning of Christmas

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A recent ad by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn shows a young woman taking a selfie. She’s not alone in the picture, though: an image of Jesus is just behind her.

A caption at the top of the ad reads, “It’s never just a selfie,” and at the bottom, the diocese bids viewers, “Join us for Christmas.”

While this ad is trying to remind young adults that God is ever-present, in most of the selfie Christmas cards I have received this year, Jesus is nowhere in sight.

I find the whole selfie craze very fascinating. New York public relations and pop culture writer Mario Almonte writes,

We are living in a culture of people who are very much involved in themselves and becoming a culture of self indulgence…When they turn that camera on themselves they believe they are so important and so interesting…

Selfies can be great, displaying creativity and possible hidden artistic talent. After all, many of the great painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh painted self-portraits.

And yet as Uri Brito writes in the Christian Post, “…they [selfies] can also be remarkable testaments to a pathetically self-serving and self-glorifying culture.”

In the last year we’ve written a lot about the idea of “whole-life stewardship” which calls Christians to give 100% (not just 10%!) of our time, talent, and treasure to serve and glorify God.

It is not about us, but about how we plug our lives into “His Story.”

This truth is so simple, so foundational, yet so easy to forget. It is so easy to slip back into the mindset or attitude that it’s all about us, especially during the busy holiday season.

I don’t listen to much county-western music, but on Christmas day last year a song playing on a PBS TV Christmas Special caught my ear.

It was called “Take A Walk Through Bethlehem,” sung by Trisha Yearwood. I found the second verse particularly powerful:

Every night another TV special/Merchants counting down the shopping days/But something’s missing underneath the tree

‘Cause every heart longs for more than tinsel/Something more than just a holiday/Come and celebrate the baby King/Let’s take a walk

Take a walk through Bethlehem/Come and kneel before the lamb/Good news for every man/Walk through Bethlehem.

As Christians we know that there will be a day when every knee will bow before the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, but what a privilege it is for us to now willingly knee before the Lamb!

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, to come and celebrate the baby King, a baby with fire in his eyes who has come into the world to change everything, to make all things new?

Contrary to what culture is telling us, Christmas is not about us…it’s about Jesus. He is still the reason for the season. 

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