Monday, November 28, 2005

stuff mart

Wow. So the Christmas season has begun. I did venture out on Friday morning for a deal, but only at Jo-Ann Fabric for some 1/2 price yarn....I came out of there spending about $50 MORE than I expected to. It's an interesting phenomenom....I'm looking at the thing I specifically came in to buy, and I hear someone talking about what a great deal something else is...and I find myself thinking, "wow! that is a great deal!! maybe I need to get some of that?!" Money flying out of my purse.....

A few friends and I visited a family on the East side of Springfield last week. A single mother and her 6 children. They lived in a house the size of my living room. The couches were filthy....with holes, smeared with undistinguishable stains...it was pretty bare....just 2 couches, a tv/vcr, table and 4 chairs (uh, for 7 people in the family), some mattresses on the floor in the 2 bedrooms and clothes laying all over the place. My friend, Nicole, was trying to talk to the mother, so Sandy and I tried to distract the kids for a bit...I was asking the 3 year old what kinds of things she liked to do...color? play with dolls? play dress up? That's what little girls do, right? that's what my girls do....duh....I looked around...there were NO toys. nothing. we brought some fruit for the family and one of the boys thought an orange was the greatest thing in the world - he could toss it, roll it, juggle it....oh, and eat it. I don't think I'd ever seen someone enjoy a piece of fruit like Robbie did. Kimberly, the oldest child, was talking about Christmas and Nicole asked what she would want....Kimberly said, "I think a doll would be nice. I've never had a doll". She's in 4th grade. She's never had a doll.

I'm so glad God gave me that opportunity at this time of the season. What in the world are we doing with this ridiculous Christmas tradition of excess and debt and stuff? Why do I think buying things and having things and giving things is going to make my family better? We are blessed beyond measure. We have more stuff than can fit in our dressers or toyboxes....we have stuff in our basement...stuff in the garage.....

I recognize it's hard to change...every time I go into a store...every time I read the sale fliers in the paper....every time I hear what someone else bought or someone else got - I feel myself getting sucked into the lie that more stuff is going to be a good thing.

God is good. Caring for the poor is good. Laying down my rights is good. Feeding the hungry is good. Making others more important than myself is good. Spending time with friends is good. Really listening is good. Serving together is good.

Stuff is....well....taking up space.

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