by Brandy Webb
This week has been a rather hard one with my children. They haven’t been bad or anything, but the bombardment of commercials regarding all the sales that are happening over the Thanksgiving holidays has nearly derailed what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, you know, thankfulness. I have noticed that they are acquiring a huge increase in materialism these days, and it is probably because they are older, thus making them more aware of merchandising that bombards their environment.
I don’t know how it is in other countries, but here in America, things have become so crazily materialistic. It seems to becoming increasingly worse each year when the holidays come around. I remember when I was a kid, Thanksgiving meant a day off for everyone. The gas stations weren’t even open. These days most stores open sometime on Thanksgiving Day; in fact, some don’t even close for a few hours on Thanksgiving. I think more people look forward to Thanksgiving because of the “Black Friday” sales rather than the point of being thankful and enjoying time with loved ones.
Have we lost our way? Don’t we realize that we can’t take any stuff with us (1 Tim 6:7)? Don’t we know that time is precious, and it is would be better spent with loved ones rather than standing in lines at stores?
This is what I have been dealing with this week with my kids because all the enticing stuff at the stores makes them desire more stuff. All the commercials this time of year cause them to desire even more stuff. I have to admit, it sometimes peaks my interest, especially when I receive emails from Amazon about up and coming sales. But then, I have to catch myself; I hate clutter, and more stuff usually translates to more clutter. Honestly, I really have more than I need and that should be enough.
So, I have been working on trying to motivate my children to be more thankful. To teach them that stuff never makes anyone happier. I mean how many of us when we were kids played more with a large box than the toy that came inside it? We need to realize especially during this time of the year, all that those commercials do is make one covet. Coveting is idolatry (Col 3:5). We need to stop. We need to prune all the bad fruits from us, so that the Spirit’s fruit of gratefulness ripens and grows to the point that we realize life is about love, not stuff. Life is about finding joy. Life is about believing in God and walking in the Messiah’s footsteps, not following the world’s footsteps to the nearest store.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I am just kind of overwhelmed by all the advertisements and craziness at stores. All of it is vanity, chasing after the wind (Eccl 5:10-16). How much time is wasted shopping for things we don’t really need? When is the last time you or I went outside for hours with friends or family members and enjoyed nature by taking a walk or having a picnic, rather than hours trying to fight crowds at stores or hours trying to find the best sales online?
I hope you realize I am talking to myself here, mainly. Whoever is reading this may not do anything that I am talking about, and if you are that person that is great. I hope you share how you have overcome the materialism of this world and live in gratefulness with God because we need teachers like that to share their tips.
I hope for myself that I start doing what the Messiah taught, to “not lay up for [myself] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matt 6:19). No instead, I need to learn how to lay up “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where [my] treasure is, there [my] heart will be also” (Matt 6:20-21). Therefore, since actions speak louder than words, hopefully my children will learn from my conduct, and follow in the footsteps that I am trying to follow, the Messiah’s footsteps.