after a month of endless "I'm thankful" social media posts, the heart turned toward saving a few bones on the latest technology. One meme circulating around Facebook pointedly said, "I find it amusing that the same people who are posting what they're thankful for are those that complain the loudest the rest of the year." Another variation said something like "The same people that are posting what they're thankful for are those that will be fighting in line on Thursday night and Friday morning." Trinkets, treasures, and toys have a tendency to reveal our hearts. While scenes from gray Thursday and Black Friday are burned onto our psyche, there is something else going on deeper inside of us-we don't like to wait. Throw American consumerism into the dark mix of the human heart and the result is grotesque--instant gratification, have it your way, giveme giveme, now now now. Our aversion to waiting reveals the entitlement of our hearts.
Seasons of waiting are often the most avoided.
waiting for a new career opportunity, enduring in the now waiting for that certain someone, living complete in the present waiting for a baby to get here waiting when a new baby isn't in the Lord's plan right now waiting through chemotherapy waiting as someone passes to eternity's shore
With this in mind,
As image bearers and disciple-makers, how do we deal with these two things? With all things, we have the opportunity to accept, reject, or redeem.
ACCEPT - If you can't beat them, then join them! We can just accept that every year we'll move from one trinket to the next, spending our lives in a frenzy of gathering more stuff. We can center our hope on the perfect holiday season and then live in the hangover when it doesn't live up to the hype. Cater to the instantaneous, have it your way now frame of mind--focus only on the now. Embrace materialism! Facilitate entitlement! In fact, let's cater to it in our church gatherings during this season! Get more by giving more.
REJECT - Gather up the Christmas toys and bring them into the city to burn them! Don't you know that Christmas trees were apart of a viking ritual of worshiping the devil. Isn't it interesting that Santa and Satan are so close in spelling? Since trinkets, toys, and treasures take away from Jesus, then let's abandon the practice of giving altogether. Forget putting up the lights on the house; be the one dark house in the neighborhood. Instead of wearing green and red, dress up in some swaddling clothes. Let's make no room for giving of gifts or feasting with friends. Focus only on the future and forget the now.
REDEEM - Buy back what has been hijacked. Incarnate the gospel story in the midst of the crazy. Yes, people spend way too much on trinkets, toys, and treasures. Sure, there is that neighbor that lights it up like Clark Griswold. Instead of embracing or rejecting the trinkets, treasures or toys why not redeem them, give an opportunity to use this time to embody the great gift given and that Great Gift Giver. Live in the now, long for the future. Build the anticipation, with one eye back on the first coming of Messiah and one eye longing for his glorious return.
The trinkets, treasures, and toys are shadows, not the substance.
The substance is Jesus.
Child of God, all of our life is one of waiting for the collision of the already and the not yet.
The Lucarelli family has tried to balance the crazy. In the past, I (Jeremy) have rejected all Christmas frills. In the past, too, we've seen the ugly inside our hearts regarding materialism and impatience. By grace, we hope to shepherd our kiddos through the raging waters of the Christmas season so that we rest in Jesus. We hope to find our rest in His arrival. We hope to find our hope in his second advent.
ADVENT | Anticipation. Expectancy. Longing. Waiting.
Over the next few weeks, we'd like to share some things that help center us back on our hope. Below we've listed some of the things that we've been using and look forward to using this year with our family during the Season of Advent (which started yesterday).
- An Advent Reading Plan - based on the Jesus Storybook Bible
- Substance Over Shadows - a blog post by Matt Chandler
- Substance Over Shadows - one of the Advent sermons from Matt Chandler
- 2014 Advent Guide - developed for families to weekly walk through aspects of Advent; we've used a similar guide over the past three years with our community group
What are some Advent or Christmas traditions that set your heart on Jesus?