Bah Humbug! or I have given all I plan to give

or why the heck did Christmas become shower gifts on the poor, the needy, and the homebound season as well as shopping season, gift giving season, and the play annoying “Christmas” music 24/7 season?

In my mailbox today was a letter from a church I visited once this fall. It’s a nice impersonal letter. Said letter reminds us how many people visit the food bank, how many people were hurt by Katrina, how many people shop on the baby needs store for the needy.

And then there is this line in the letter about making room for Jesus in my heart and mind this season, as I shop, as I worship and as I sing.

What I’m mad about is that enclosed in the big envelope was a little envelope labeled “My Christmas Offering.” As in, fill this envelope with money and bring it to the church.

OK, I’m sure they sent this letter to all the church members, and to folk like me who visited and provided their address as visitors. (I’m new to the area–I visited a half dozen churches before picking one that’s mostly ok).

But what really bugs me about the letter is simple. If you really want me to put money in your offering plate, encourage me to show up at your church this Christmas season. It’s easy. Tell me about your Christmas Cantata (which I know about because I also got the December Newsletter). Tell me about your Christmas Eve services (I assume they are having some. Yeah, I know, assumptions are dangerous, but I’ve been committed to being a good little musician at a church in another state on Christmas Eve). Tell me if you are doing something different for New Years. Do something to make me want to show up at your church with an envelope full of money rather than toss it all in the Salvation Army’s buckets, or drop it in the cute poinsettia envelopes of one of the many other local churches.

Don’t just tell me a sob story about the poor and needy and tell me to think about God this season. Motivate me to want to visit you.

I think this has decided me on which church to attend church at next Sunday. Not the one with the annoying greedy letter.