• White Candy Cane Mochas

    Last week, my wife and I ventured to Cross Iron Mills Mall in Balzac (north Calgary). The purpose of our visit was to do some early Christmas shopping. As we entered the mall, we were greeted by an idol- a shiny Starbucks sign. It wasn’t long before that idol enticed me to give in to the desires of my heart; a sweet and delicious white candy-cane mocha (make that two). The problem for me was I really didn’t think twice about gravitating to temptation. I love coffee and I love visiting Starbucks. The drink was delicious even though I didn’t want to think about how many calories I consumed in twenty minutes.

    What actually was even more sinister than the idol, was the fueling of my desires.  Deep down, I actually like, maybe almost, love coffee. To get right down to business- I desire coffee.  So it isn’t quite a sacrifice to stop at a local Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee. This practice of caffine consumption has become ritualistic with me. Sure you could make the argument or ask the question- are you really being a good steward of your money? Maybe, but what is really at stake, is not my wallet but my inner desires. If I am not careful (at times, I confess I am not), this ritual can begin forming a deep ungodly desire within, an adultery (so to speak) which pulls at my heart strings and away from God.  James K.A. Smith in his important work- Desiring the Kingdom says, “But all the while the ritual practices of the mall are grabbing hold of our hearts and capturing imaginations, shaping our love and desire, and actually forming us in powerful, fundamental ways.” (Smith, 85)

    It is this capturing of our imaginations and shaping our love and desire that I am concerned about as a Christ follower. I am becoming aware of the way in which the many worldly practices of Christmas are in deed forming unholy desires. Growing up in a culture saturated by gift giving and worldliness has taken its toll on my spirit. I wage war against these idols almost everyday. If you are honest, you likely have the same struggle as me.  There is some good news found in Exodus 20:

    And God spoke all these words:

    “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    “You shall have no other gods before me.

    “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    This Christmas, don’t let a White Candy-Cane Mocha steer you away from the most important desire- God with Us.