Friday's blog article touched a real nerve, in a positive way, with so many of you. I don't remember receiving as many emails in response to a blog entry as I did last Friday. I appreciate all of you who took your time to share with me your thoughts and insights.
A couple of emails really struck me and I want to share parts of them with you this Monday morning.
"Jim, your entry made me cry this morning. I reached the same point in my life as you around five years ago. We have so much stuff that all I want for Christmas, and everyday, is to make wonderful memories with my family. Every Christmas for the past five years, my family has asked what I want and my response is the same, 'Nothing.' That, of course, is never good enough. So I tell my family to give whatever amount of money they would have spent on me and donate it to a charity of their choice. Their response is always, 'No!' So Christmas for me is a sad day because in opening presents, I realize there are so many who need it more than me. I have all I could ever want and more I don't even need."
"When I came to Christ forty years ago, I had no idea Christmas was something we didn't talk about as a brotherhood. Like playing cards and going to the movies, it was not talked about, even though some people chose to participate...While I am speaking about the Biblical elements of Christmas during December, I am cautioning the congregation not to get caught up in the materialism and consumerism of the holiday. That can be a tough walk for a conscientious Christian. I truly appreciate your blog message this morning and I'm going to read it during our Sunday morning Bible study as a reminder."
How do we break the rampant consumerism of our culture? How do we lessen the hold of stuff in our life? How do we come to recognize the provision of God for our needs while finding contentment in plenty or in want? How do we lessen the craving for more and more? How do we find satisfaction in what we've already been blessed with while diminishing our never-ending list of wants?