Helping Our Kids (and Ourselves) Avoid the Disease of Stuff This Holiday Season
You've met them and at times, you have been them. Because really, in our culture, that seems to be the battle.
It's the Wanna-be-War which rages against us in a world full of stuff. And with Christmas, in all it's "finery," beginning to parade around in stores, I'm reminded of how stuff pulls me in.
I was in Costco with all it's neat and tidy aisles, lined with sparkling goodies, and the suck begins.
I immediately whipped out the paper from my purse and reminded myself: list, list, list. But as good parents, we allowed our kids to go up and down the toy and gadgets aisles, and nod "Yes, that's neat." "Oh yes, I like that." "Why yes, that'd be a great project." Followed by the, "No, we aren't getting it, and it, and it."
I began to get irritated, not by my kids, as much as by stuff.
But it's a battle.
Because I love stuff too. I'm just like my kids. I survey the warehouse and I begin to want, too.
Stuff kills. I know this.
It quenches heaven and starves the spirit, until we're spiritually anorexic. Stuff makes us feel fat and never feel good about ourselves.
And Wanna-be-Wars begin as we think about, so-and-so who has stuff, or so-and-so magazine girl looking like that, or so-and-so friend did this, or so-and-so does that thing better, and we're off.
The race has begun.
Before my family knows it, I'm at the cell phone booth to switch out my service. Already, the glossy new phones seem too "smart" to not sign up for the new do-dad, gizmo, or data package, it has to offer.
Family after family comes to the booth, ooh-ing and aww-ing over this phone or that. Teenagers with parents trying to convince them, "This is the one I need."
All I can think about is the rapture on their faces, eying stuff. And I think how that's me, merrily going along with my man-made worship, mesmerized by things carved by hands.
I'm grieved, Holy Spirit, by our happiness-search.
Instead of eagerly coming to Your booth to get Your latest upgrades, we go to the world. Instead of searching out Your social media, we click away. Instead of handling the invisible spiritual matters with ooh's and aww's, we fix our eyes on the visible -- stuff.
In our western culture, we are in a minefield of trappings. We carefully step among materialistic cursings that brightly allure us. We have to deny, deny, deny in a humanistic culture that says, "good ahead if it feels good" or "if you can have it, get it."
We must choose, the foot of the mountain or the climb. Lingering too long at the bottom, is where we build golden-calves.
So, up we must go.
In my western world stream there at Costco, I tried to swim up a ripple.
At the cell phone booth, I did what I came for. I downgraded. It's small, I know. Minor, really.
No phone email, no phone internet, no more Google searches, no phone with Facebook or Pandora. Just a phone.
My husband and I left.
And in the car, we wondered out loud, the disease of stuff.
“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
Photo Credit: cliffano.