from the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas special
“I never get what I really want, I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.”-- Lucy “What is it that you want?” Charlie Brown “Real Estate”-Lucy
Have you ever heard of anything so sad? She gets a lot of toys or a bicycle or clothes for Christmas and it’s not what she wants. It’s not what makes her happy. Can you imagine any kid not being happy with those things for Christmas? I have a feeling even if Lucy did get what she said she really wanted, I don’t think she would be truly happy.
And you know something. We are not so different.
The other day I finally started my Christmas shopping. Now I have to preface this with saying that I don’t shop. I’m not someone who typically has a need to buy things. I only go to the store when there is something I need. Then I get in and out. Wandering or window shopping is dangerous so I avoid it. When I Christmas shop, I go with a list and I rarely deviate from it. But I have to tell you, there were times when I had to restrain myself. Just going up and down the isles seeing all that there is available to buy, makes me want to take my arm and make one big sweeping motion to put everything in my cart. After all, I’m shopping for my children. I just want to give them everything I can afford. It’s not that we are a materialistic family or anything, but when it’s time to give, I want to give it all. Then I remember that financially that is just not possible. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype, especially at Christmas. It quickly becomes dangerous though when I start second guessing myself. I start wondering why I can’t buy all the gifts I want. Why don’t I have an unlimited supply of funds? Why can’t I fill my cart like that woman over there? When will I be able to shop without keeping track of every penny?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to give to the people we love right?
Of course there isn’t.
Unless we have a Lucy attitude, that it’s never enough, or we constantly have to have more or we are not happy.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about materialism:
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NASB) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Many times during Christmas we hear people talk about remembering the “true meaning of Christmas”. Never has that been more imperative than when we find ourselves having a Lucy attitude. Even if there are good intentions with it. Our Father in heaven isn't that much different from me when it comes to giving gifts. He loves us and wants to give us all that He can. In one big swoop of His power, He gave us the most incredible gift we could ever receive from Him in the birth, life and death of Jesus.
As I’m trolling for gifts at the Supper Walmart, and I find myself grumbling about not being able to buy all that I want, I need to remember that “true meaning of Christmas”. I need to remember that it is not being a good steward of what God has given me to go and spend willy nilly just because I want to give my kids lots of presents. God has provided for my family exactly what we need. The true meaning of Christmas keeps me from going overboard. Jesus was born in a simple way, to a simple family, without all kinds of hoopla. Most people were unaware that he had even been born. And yet, the gift he brought in himself has more meaning and brings more happiness than we can ever imagine. His meager beginning, humble life and ultimate sacrifice is our example. Yes, because of that I can put my Lucy attitude in check and proudly go through the check out line with my cart that isn’t overflowing. I already have a gift that brings me true happiness no matter how the cart looks.
I find it interesting that what Lucy really wants for Christmas is “Real Estate”.
Think about it for a minute. In the real world, real estate would be considered an investment in your future, a good place to put your money. The eventual return on that investment (in a normal economy) could be worth a great amount.
When we look to Jesus and His ultimate gift to us, we are in a sense making an investment in our future as well. When we invest ourselves in Jesus, accepting His free gift of salvation, we are guaranteed a valuable return on that investment. We don’t have to worry about the market fluctuating and losing that return. It is there and it will always be there waiting for us. Scripture says: John 14:2 (NASB) "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. Matthew 6:20 (NASB) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, Ephesians 1:3 (NASB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
I don’t need to buy tons of gifts to make myself or anyone else happy this Christmas. We’ve been given the best gift of all in Jesus’ birth.
As a parent, there is no greater lesson I can teach my children. If that means I give more meaning instead of gifts then……
that’s what I really want.