Back before the days of flip cameras and high-definition video cameras, my parents recorded some of our early Christmases on tape. Well, I don’t even know what they used to record it, but they made a cassette tape for me with the recorded memories. Yes. I am old.
Anyway, on one particular Christmas, my parents had gotten 2-year-old me what they assumed would be the hit of the year -- my very own play kitchen. The tape documents me coming down the stairs Christmas morning and discovering all the gifts Santa had left behind.
I quickly tackle my stocking and exclaim as only a 2-year-old can, “UNDERWEAR!!!” (In my head, I can hear that voice perfectly. I can’t say my r’s). My parents giggle a little and say, “Jill, what else did you get?” And I am sure they are gesturing in the direction of the large kitchen. I look next to the underwear I have just opened and gasp, “MORE UNDERWEAR!!!”
My parents literally have to point at the big kitchen to get me to notice, at which point I say, “OH, A TOVE!!” (Apparently, I am not so great with the 's,' either.)
For the past several Christmases, I have been feeling less and less joy at Christmas. I really want to be joyful at Christmas. I mean, isn’t joy what the season is about?
But I think the problem is that, all around me, I see people getting excited for “underwear” and missing the stove.
This could be another post about consumerism and how evil it is, but the fact is, as a parent, I love giving my children gifts. I love picking out a gift that I know will mean a lot to my child and seeing their face when they open it. Giving gifts is one of the best things about Christmas. And if we are created in God’s image, wouldn’t it only make sense that we were made to love giving good gifts?
But I long for a Christmas with gifts that are more meaningful -- and with a whole lot less of them. More homemade, local gifts, and less plastic junk from who knows where. And I long for a Christmas with a whole lot more giving to others and a whole lot less of getting for myself.
Less, less, less of so much, and more, more, more of Jesus.
This post is part of World Vision’s 12 Blogs of Christmas project about the true spirit of Christmas. To learn more about how you can help meet real needs this Christmas season, check out the World Vision Gift Catalog.
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This post originally appeared on Jill's blog: Giving the Best Gifts.