Excess

Ah, Christmas–you fantastic holiday you.

I’ve written about it before; probably it went a little something like this: “Oh, Christmas. How I love you–let me count the ways: 1. Presents. 2. Sparkly balls, and 3. Presents.”

I do so love sparkly balls.

And presents. I’ll risk sounding a little self-righteous by admitting that I love giving presents seriously as much as I love recieving them. But this year…this year we’re doing something a little different, mainly because I’ve been sickened over the commercialism of the holiday season, which is of course fueled by the selfish, materialistic nature of our society. I feel so guilty for buying into it every December. How am I supposed to get the Jesus message across to my children when almost everything we say and do after Thanksgiving screams “ridiculously obsessed with everything except Christ’s birth”?

It’s bad when you have to clean out your kids’ closets to make room for all the new stuff they’re going to get. I was doing just that when I stopped, took a step back, and thought “Really?”

And God said this: “That’s what I’m screamin’.”

Me: “What.”

God: “You know what.”

Me: “But the kids will have my head if they don’t get all 120 things on their lists.”

God: “Woman–please. They will not. Besides, who’s the grown-up here? Who else is going to teach your kids not to be greedy? The TV? Because, great job so far. That’s sarcasm. They get so many presents on Christmas that you have to put on a half-time show just so they can take a break from all the unwrapping. Get a grip Toni.”

Grip gotten. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty by posting this. It’s just that, this time of year, I usually find myself in need of a little reality check. The little “sacrifices” that I make are pathetic in comparison to what Jesus sacrificed–for me. What do I do to acknowledge Him on His birthday? Pile presents up to the ceiling of the living room and whine about what I still don’t have.

I’ve quoted it before and I’ll quote it again: Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Interrupted” says all this:

  • “Of the six billion people on planet Earth, about 1.2 billion live on 23 cents a day.
  • Half the world lives on less than $2 a day.
  • The wealthiest one billion people average $70 a day. (This places you and me in the upper, upper, upper percentages of the global population.)
  • If you make $35,000 annually, you are in the top four percent.
  • If you make $50,000 annually, top one percent.
  • Someone dies of hunger every 16 seconds.
  • Twenty-two million people died of preventable diseases last year; 10 million were children.
  • Twenty-seven million children and adults are trapped in slavery because of economic crisis (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves). More slaves exist today than ever before in human history.
  • More than 143 million children in the world have been orphaned or abandoned (equivalent to more than half the population of the U.S.)
  • In the last hour: More than 1600 children were forced to the streets by the death or abuse of an adult. At least 115 children became prostitutes. More than 66 children younger than 15 were infected with HIV.
  • Roughly one billion people in the world do not have suitable housing, and 100 million are entirely homeless.”
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About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

3 responses to “Excess

  • Joell

    Okay, well, I know your intention was not to guilt people, but dang. Especially coming off of my shopping jag this past weekend…ouch. Point well made and taken in the spirit in which it was intended. You are right and we have lost our minds with all the commercialism and I know it must make God sad. We do have to keep our perspective on what it is all about…not what the world tells us Christmas is supposed to be.

  • Toni

    Oh Joell, please believe me when I say I’m public enemy #1 when it comes to the Christmas insanity. I guess I’m just disgusted with how I allow our entire month of December to become so centered around everything but Jesus. I allow myself to be consumed with the planning and the shopping and they wrapping and the baking. I just lose focus every. single. year.

  • Stephanie

    As usual I love your blog and I totally get where you are coming from. I read your blog and was feeling guilty, even though we are trying the ‘Jesus got 3 gifts, so are you thing’ then I read Jen Hatmakers blog a few hours later. Soooo, now I’m thinkin God is trying to tell me something:) let me just say some big changes are coming to our house! http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/29/the-christmas-conundrum

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