Friday, October 10, 2008

We Should Fall Flat on Our Face

The news of the roller coaster ride on Wall Street is everywhere. Since I'm not in the market I won't begin to suggest I have advice for those who have money invested in stocks and bonds.
However, in terms of how we should live, I would suggest a return to the old-fashioned word "frugality".

We live in a time of consumption. (A century ago 'consumption' was a deadly, over-consumption is still deadly in terms of your wallet.) Sadly, we have taught our children well the illusion that their little special "Self" deserves "More". We have not given them the picture of "spend less than you earn" nor how to serve others. Instead, we've catered to their every whim and have done so at a high cost in terms of dollars. We want them to have "what we didn't have" as if somehow we deserved more and so do they. What a false idea of how to provide for family.

I'm going to step on some toes here, but if I do, it's not personal. If there were one thing that I could change in my family it would be how we celebrate Christmas. Perhaps I'm an old woman who has lost the "fun" of Christmas and who has become an old fuddy-duddy, wanting to take away the "spirit" of Christmas by eliminating the excess. (Notice I did not spell "spirit" with a capital "S").

Let's get real here. Let's stop playing the game. How many paper-wrapped packages does a little kid need under the tree? Does every aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent have to provide the obligatory gift...a gift that the kid grabs, rips, discards in less time than I can say "Merry Christmas"? Aren't we a bit foolish to spend countless hours (not to mention the dollars) getting "just the right gift" for each that moments later are tossed aside or broken.

If one has cash to buy the above, okay, go for it if that is your wish. But, oh, how foolish, in terms of your family's economic well-being, if you are using your credit cards or the last dime you have in savings! How Foolish!

I prefer to celebrate the Christmas that is about the Christ, the Messiah, who came to rescue us from our sinful condition (Colossians 1:13). Christians too often limply state that "God is Love", leaving that to be the extent of their understanding of the Bible, making God this little wimpy god spelled with a small "g" who just loves us as we are and who somehow quite fruitlessly hopes that we will try to be good at least once in awhile. What a wimpy idea of the theology of the Bible. It may be a Santa Claus idea, but it is not a God idea.

The real message of the Bible is much, much deeper. Our condition of sin much deeper. And our rescue from a much deeper pit than some might suppose. Romans 8:28-39 is one of my favorite passages. The words therein are grand. Follow that with Romans 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

The message of the Bible is deep. But we Americans love living on the surface of everything, never going deep, even in our faith, and seldom deep into our relationship with the Creator. If we did (go deep, that is) we might each have to face the depth of our sinful heart and have to fall flat on our face as Isaiah (Isaiah 6) did before a holy and just God.



cinnamongirl93 said...

I know what you mean. Some people in our family still wants(needs) to buy everyone gifts. I think Christmas is for kids, Not adults. We having been talking with other family members that this has to stop. Hopefully this will be the year. Praying!
I would find a handmade gift from the heart to be the most special thing ever.

Paula said...


Sheri said...

I love your take on Christmas gifts. I always feel I'm just throwing away money when I buy for my grandchildren. They already have so much nothing really excites them. I find myself thinking
"what's the point?"