We must all admit that we’ve had at least one displeasing Christmas present. Perhaps it was the wrong size, color, shape, brand, or age level. Someone just mentioned that their boyfriend’s mother bought her a giant rubber ducky for Christmas last year. She was 26 years old. It wasn’t a gag-gift. Once, my sister, being quite young, opened a Christmas present from our Grandma. It was a set of clothes. To which my sister memorably replied, “Clothes. Boring.” And tossed them aside.
Of course, we’ve all probably groaned or grumbled or fussed about some gift we’ve been given. We like to think that we left all the grumbling behind us in our childhood. But zooming out we can see that we adults are just more discrete in our fussing. Some families dread Christmas because it ain’t a slice of peace on earth, more like World War 3. So and so doesn’t want some other relative around because their feuding. The adult kids are with the other parents this year. Mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again. That sort of thing.
But we also can fuss in very spiritual looking ways. “Look at all this materialism.” “Christmas has pagan roots.” “This is all so over the top.” Or the sanctimonious, “I aim to be generous all year round.”
But Scripture forbids––in all its forms––fussing: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings (Phl. 2:14).” The greek word for murmurings is hilariously transliterated as “goggysmos.” What an onomatopoeia! Goggysmos means an inner secret debate. Like those arguments in your head that you always win, looking (in your mind’s eye) like a renowned rhetorician from ancient Greece.
So, regardless of your age, regardless of the gift, regardless of the season, be thankful. No fussing. Christmas ain’t for fussers. No fussing for children, and no fussing for the big people. Gratitude is the context in which Paul prohibits murmuring and disputing. Christ’s sacrificial humility (Phi. 2:5-11) is the mindset which we’re to have. In other words, Christ’s Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection should bring us up short if ever we’re tempted to fuss.