The worst thing about Christmas – my greed.
I’ve got two sides. One side of me really gets disgusted with how much money we Americans spend on a holiday that’s become less about Jesus awesomeness coming into the world, and more about the junk we can stress over buying, wrapping, giving, then throwing away. This first side is the one I want to cultivate more of, the one I share with people, like talking about.
But the other side, that’s uglier, yet just as true in my heart. Greed. When my first side is saying, “Yes, let’s just spend time together and not give gifts,” my second side is thinking Sure, BUT. If you insist on giving me a gift (which I won’t resist too strongly), then I have about 20 items that are on my ‘wants’ list.
You see, I’m a bargain hunter. And greedy, bargain-hunting brain thinks, Perfect. It’s Christmastime. People will want to spend money. And now that I’m a missionary, they’ll really feel sorry for me when I ask for underwear as a Christmas gift. Maybe they’ll spend a little extra, and I won’t have to fork it over later. OR even better, they’ll buy me things I wouldn’t indulge myself, so I get that extra-special X without the guilt of spending $50 on it.
This is my brain, folks. This is my humble confession. I want crap I don’t need at Christmas. Even though when I think of most of my Swazi friends who will be giving each other nothing for Christmas because they save their money to put their kids in school, or buy school shoes. Even when I think of Glorious wanting to make a special dinner, that includes nothing but cinnamon rolls as her extra treat. Even when I consider that our new home consists of a room that’s 104 square feet (and I’m quite happy there). Even when I realize that when I go home to Swaziland, I’ll be hauling water to my house for bathing, eating, and cooking. I. still. get. greedy. I lose my perspective. I jump straight into valuing stuff more than time or people.
Be still, my crazy greed.
On a really encouraging, exciting note. I like Advent Conspiracy. They’re doing a good thing. Encouraging us in a direction of more Jesus, more love for others, less spending, and really, a change of heart that triumphs over the greed, over the self-centeredness and pours out love into the world around us, much like God has been calling his people to for centuries. Check out their version of the Advent Calendar.
What do you do during the Christmas season to seek Christ instead of consumerism?