Just thinking… Christmas…

This is a facebook note that I wrote over Christmas in 2010.  See what you think.

As i think more about this Christmas season, i wonder if i really feel loved by the person who gives me a christmas gift? Do i really need more stuff? Do i really need more clothes, an ipod, a new laptop or TV, or whatever else someone might think of? During these talks with myself (i know; a little insane, right?), i usually come to the same point, which is that i desire relationship with God and people more than i desire stuff.

I am not saying that if someone got me a new laptop or skis or books, i wouldn’t like that stuff. I am saying though that those things don’t always communicate love as much as they fulfill the selfish desires that i already attempt to battle. My natural desire is to pursue a better life, which is something that Americans equate with having more and better stuff. It’s kind of like that whole “keeping up with the Joneses” idea.

This battle reminds me of some of Jesus’ words, in which he says that a person cannot serve both God and money because he will hate the one and love the other, while he will also love the one and despise the other. In the notes of my bible, i found out that what actually translates better than money in this passage of the gospels is the word possessions, which makes so much more sense.

We really do not value green paper with numbers very much. The only reason that we really care about it is because it can be exchanged for more stuff. The green paper can be exchanged for a PS3 or XBOX 360 or plasma screen television or laptop or ipod etc. The battle within us is not against money, but against what money can get for us. We like stuff. We like having more and more of it. We think that stuff will bring us security and satisfaction in life.

But what i soon realized was that stuff could not satisfy me. The one thing that money cannot buy me is relationship with anyone, but i realized that only relationship can satisfy the deep inner longings of my heart. Most importantly, only relationship with God. But not only relationship with him because he does not want us experiencing life alone. So i began asking more questions about these ideas. If relationships are really what we long for more than stuff, then why do we give in to the Christmas season so easily and continue to push a message that tells our children and friends that stuff is important? Why do we give into the consumerist mentality of buying more and more stuff when what we really long for is the God who came and visited us as a real human being? Why do we buy people stuff when we know that what they need is a good friend, not a good television? an honest and transparent conversation, rather than a new laptop? Could we put the shopping on hold for a few moments and ask the check-out lady or man how his or her day is going?

Maybe what we should realize most about this Christmas season is that people mean so much more to us than any of our stuff ever will. Maybe when we do not get as much stuff as we wanted, we’ll start thinking about the people around us who are hurting and need our comforting presence. Maybe we’ll start having those difficult conversations with people rather than just glossing over the situation by giving them something that we hope will console their wounded ego. Maybe we need to realize that what we want is not nearly as important as what He wants. When will we start listening to the deepest longings of our hearts and realize that Jesus called us to relationship with people, not stuff?

So i guess what i really want this Christmas more than anything else is to spend quality time with those i love the most because those moments will be the only ones that i and they will remember in the future. We aren’t always going to remember the gifts from every Christmas, but we will always remember those people we grew close to during life’s course. Let us this Christmas try and mend, form, heal, and begin relationships so that we can feel some sincere fulfillment in our lives rather than shallow hunger for something more.


~ by randallkoehler on May 15, 2011.

One Response to “Just thinking… Christmas…”

  1. Hey man. Love this little blog that you are doing! This post is so wise! I think what the incarnation shows us is that relationality is of great importance to God. Here is the big difference in the Christian narrative as compared with the Jewish one. “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”… God has been revealed in Jesus Christ, as Christian tradition has overwhelmingly insisted. It was not enough for God to have a relationship with us outside of the embodied physicality of the world. Thus, we have Jesus Christ who has made complete this relationship. The incarnation gives another level to our humanly predicament of social interaction and relationship. Thus, while the physical is important, it does not come without the implication to use the physical in right social relationship. Anyway, I am giving you a hearty Amen. The implications for the incarnation are profound!

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