Time to take the seX out of se-Xmas

Source: Borrowed image from Advent Conspiracy | Click image to learn about how to give to a great cause!

*** This is a piece I wrote a couple of years back. I hope it still makes sense, even if the references are a bit dated…

Then one foggy Sex-mas Eve, Victoria came to say: Consumer with your eyes so wide, buy this bra and panties tonight.

Twenty-year-old young women wearing unmentionables stare into the camera saying: “Tell me you love me.  Tell me you want me.  Excite me.”  Getting your yuletide jollies yet?

Let’s be honest: the girls in the Victoria’s Secret commercial sound fake.  Their attempts at sexy come across as cheesy.  And if the nearly bare bosoms of consumerism haven’t bombarded you yet this Sex-mas season, consider yourself blessed.

Blessed.  There’s a person who believed herself to be blessed. Her story continues to be told each year.  It’s a story of hope, love, joy, and peace. And the mystery of it all: no sex.

Unfortunately, sex sells.  If not Victoria’s Secret, you might run into Mariah Carey as a scantly dressed Mrs. Claus in her “All I want for Christmas” music video. Sex appeals because it awakens the deepest consumer impulse of our being.  When sex fails as an expression of self-giving love, it triggers a self-interest driven desire to have.  In this way, sex and consumerism find a dynamic partnership. Perhaps this is why sex indeed does sell.  Consumerism is the power of “Sex-mas.”

The meaning of Christmas continues to be co-opted in various other ways in popular culture.  Honestly, much of this doesn’t bother me.  What non-Christ-followers say Christmas does or doesn’t mean to them is not my concern.  What frustrates me is when I see Christians complaining about how “secular culture” reduces Christmas to one of many “holidays,” and yet they continue to spend more money on Christmas décor than on the concerns of the poor. The meaning of Christmas for many evangelicals is rooted in defending a belief about an event, rather than the application of that event in our daily lives.

We Christians have fallen into the trap of Sex-mas. No, we may not believe that Victoria Secret or any other company that uses sex to sell should be supported by our credit cards, but we consume as though driven by libido.

The story of a young Virgin giving birth to a humble King reminds us of the wonder of the first Christmas.  Before Sex-mas took over the church’s imagination, the presence of Christ in the world (the Christ of the Mass) compelled us to give in the way he gave. Christ gave himself to the world.  He was born, battered, and abused by the very world he came to rescue.  Our invitation is to model this sort of self-giving love to our friends, family, and world.

We don’t need to force the rest of our culture to “put the Christ back into Christ-mas” or to say “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays.”  This country isn’t a Christian nation and so we must learn how to live at peace with those who may not yet follow Jesus.  Beyond this, however, the people of God might do well to recognize those moments during Advent when we fail to incarnate Christ in the world because we give into the lure of Sex-mas.  We may not like the ads, but we sure like the stuff they make us crave.

The only way to take the Sex out of Sex-mas is to deny our consumption impulse and to show the world around us the incarnated Christ. Then and only then will we have won the battle for Christmas.  Not by defeating secular culture, but by confronting our own Sex-mas drive.

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Here’s a great way to subvert the Sex-mas drive.  Partner with Mennonite Central Committee to: Give Hope or Give Peace or Give Water or Give Health or Give Livestock or Give Education or Give Relief

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  • RT

    Kurt, you make some good points. Christmas has become more about the worship of self than the worship of a child that was born to give us the most important gift ever given. I see “Sex-mas” as one of the many symptoms of this worship of self.

    The dynamic partnership of sex and consumerism you speak of plays on our most basic desires. In our culture today, the worship of self has been elevated to a “religion”. This religion has hyper-exaggerated sex, consumerism, and the pursuit of personal status to the point that many have lost focus on what truly matters.

    While there is nothing wrong with giving gifts to others, it is important to remember the most important gifts we can give are our love, time, and efforts to reach out to those around us. By doing this we already have won the battle for Christmas.

  • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

    the Victoria’s Secret commercial sound fake. Their attempts at sexy come across as cheesy

    True, as are most advertisements. But in a specie becoming increasingly juvenilized, one may expect even more insipid cultural expression.

  • Hey

    Deny our selves (consumption) and reveal Christ. Sounds like death and resurrection. This happens at your baptism. Recall it daily.


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