It Costs Too Much

Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Luke 12:15 (NLT)

Every year we set a “Christmas List Freeze” date of Thanksgiving Day. By the end of that day, as we all lie around in a torpid, turkey-stuffed state, the kids’ Christmas lists must be complete. No more changes. The Christmas List is set in stone, thus saith the father. I tend to relax those restrictions after I read said Christmas lists and discover I’m going to have to cash out my 401(k) just to pay for the stocking stuffers. I’ll say this for my kids: they may not ask for a lot, but the few precious items they request still make my wallet clench.

It’s a struggle. I really, really would love to give my kids everything they want, regardless of the cost. Money was tight when I was a kid, so we rarely got the latest and greatest must-have toy of the season. Don’t get me wrong, my parents made sure we had good Christmases, but still… a part of me always looked with not a little envy on those kids who seemed like they could just open up the Sears Wish Book, point to something, and be assured it would be under the tree Christmas morning. It’s only natural that I would want to spare my kids that experience.

But just because it’s “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for the best, because while stuff is cool, and plentiful Christmas gifts are awesome, they will all ultimately turn to dust. We are not made to put our faith and our hope in video game systems and mechanical hamsters; we’re made to find joy in a relationship with our Creator. That’s not to say Playstations and Zhu Zhu Pets are wrong! It’s just that I would be doing my kids a disservice if I didn’t teach them that there are more important things than Jeeps and big-screen plasma TVs and high-end audio equipment, even though those things are so cool and it certainly couldn’t hurt if I had those things, right?

This is going to be harder than I thought.

Lord, I need self-control. Help me to lead by example, to demonstrate with my life that contentment comes from you, not from material things.

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