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A holiday wish for contentment

December 12, 2008|By LISA PREJEAN

A department store flier arrived the other day advertising a fine jewelry sale. My husband's name was on the flier, so I added it to his pile of mail.

He came around the corner and started chuckling.

"So, is this a hint? You want something in here for Christmas?"

I laughed and shook my head. "No, it was addressed to you, so I placed it on top of your mail."

He pressed the question again, but my answer was the same. I don't really need any more jewelry, I assured him.

Then I shared my Christmas request: "All I want for Christmas is your love and affection."

He assured me that I already had that gift. What a precious one it is.

Particularly at this time of year, material things seem to crowd out things that are truly important.

Many times we are "forced" to think of things we want so other people will have something to give us. Isn't that ironic?

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My 9-year-old recently lamented this.

"Mommy, everyone keeps asking me what I want for Christmas, but I don't want that much. I can't think of things to tell them," she confessed, as if this is a negative thing. "I don't play with Barbies or Pollys anymore, so I just don't know what to say."

She did ask for a new Bible, "just like my brother's" with tabs, subtitles and commentary so it's easier to find and understand the verses she seeks.

Like most girls her age, she also asked for some winter clothes, a few DVDs and an iPod.

"I'm not going to ask for anything else, because I don't need anything else," she said.

In the Bible class I teach for 10th-graders, we've been examining Paul's epistles, or letters, to various churches. When Paul wrote to Timothy at Ephesus, Paul reminded him that "we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

The accumulation of goods can be more than overwhelming during the holidays. The pressure is great not only to give but also to want.

Whatever happened to being content with what we have? Concentrating on relationships rather than objects? Fixing things rather than replacing them?

At some point we need to say, "I have enough. I don't need the latest gadget or gizmo."

The peace that comes from that realization captures the spirit of the Christmas season. Christians believe that more than 2,000 years ago, a lowly stable provided the setting for a holy birth. The baby's parents became content with this location because they knew that was how it was supposed to be.

There was no need for a flier to announce the great event. Angels proclaimed the news.

Though gifts were not requested, heart-felt ones were brought.

They were received with open arms and a loving spirit, which is the reception that all gifts should be granted.

May the joy of contentment be yours this holiday season.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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