23 December 2010

Christmas Stuff

I've been thinking, all day, about Enough, and Too Much, and Not Enough.  Ann got me started on it with her Jesse Tree advent book, which finishes with the story of when she met her sponsored child in Guatemala.  I was hit between the eyes and struck dumb by her question:

"Why does the World hunger, when the people of God have bread?  Are Bread?"

Casting Crowns asks, "If we are the Body..." Why aren't we doing what Christ does?  Why aren't we reaching out to a hurting world?

I think the problem is, we're too focused on us, and our stuff.  There's so much that we "need", just have to have, and do we remember that we are some of the wealthiest people in the world?  Wandering through the mall, just looking for something to buy, dashing in to Wal-Mart for that thing we need right now, do we think about the children who will go to bed tonight hungry?  Katie asks, on her blog, that if you send a donation to support the work she's doing, please include your e-mail address so they don't have to mail the thank-you...because they can feed a child two meals, for the price of a stamp.  How many could be fed with the money I'm planning to spend on a new coffee table?

And today, the Yarn Harlot continued the theme, asking what is "enough"?

"The dictionary defines enough as "occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs or expectations."  Clearly, since we live in a house, eat when we are hungry, drink when we are thirsty, put on clothes when we are cold... obviously we have enough.  Enough of everything.  Where does it come from then, that feeling I have when I stand in a shop, holding a gift in my hand and thinking "Is this enough?" or I bake a hundred cookies, and then stand there surveying the lot and wondering "Is that enough?"

If we're defining enough as that definition above though- and thinking of fully meeting demands, needs or expectations - then I think I'm probably in a losing game.  Never mind my crazy ideas of a perfect Christmas or the expectations of others,  but what's a gift but an attempt to show the recipient that you love or care for them, and if that's what it is, am I ever going to be able to get them enough? Is there anything that I can put in Joe's stocking to show him fully and completely how much I appreciate him being married to me?  Can I ever buy enough presents to convey the depth of my love?  There will never be enough.  Never, and this year we swore to opt out of the craziness.  Trying to get enough, buy enough, make enough, get enough done - because it doesn't work anyway. It's never enough, you could buy or make everything, and all that would happen is that afterwards there would be a big mess, a bunch of exhausted people- all of whom are broke - and everyone then would have too much, just because you were trying to fill something that's a feeling with stuff." 

It's so easy, especially at this time of year, to forget how much we have, to lose sight of what is really enough.  Even though Christmas has looked a lot different around here this year, I think we've still lost track of this, a bit.  We've been moving slowly through Advent, not really doing a whole lot to "get ready" for Christmas.  I haven't done much baking, the decorating is pretty simple.  But we've been home, and together, and it's been good.  Even though we've bought more stuff than we needed, we've been focusing on the feelings, rather than the stuff.  It's a step in the right direction.

I'm thinking about a name for the next year, also on Ann's advice.  I'm thinking about enough, and what that looks like, and how to be satisfied.  I'll be back after Christmas with more on that.  Meanwhile, merry Christmas to you all.

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