Surviving commercialism

Quinn received a set of throwing knives, a blowgun and the much-requested video game but my favorite part of Christmas this year was watching him open his giant Webster’s unabridged dictionary.  I got the classic “OOOOO” face of delighted surprise. He just couldn’t believe his luck.  A dictionary bigger than any he has ever seen, with finger tabs for the letters.  So big he can hardly haul it around.  He is in heaven.

I found it at a thrift shop for a few dollars.  Because who needs a dictionary anymore now that we have google.  But my son, the genius, (excuse me while I brag) requested one for Christmas.  And knowing that he is the son of my husband, I thought the biggest one possible might slake his thirst and satisfy his hunger for words and more words to explore.

It was a win.

We walk the line, with so many other families, of wanting to bless our children with the desires of their heart (because that is His favorite thing too and it is His birthday celebration after all) and wanting them not to be so focused on what they get that they forget what they have.  It’s particularly difficult in a culture with constant commericials and IG updates of the things everyone else wants or got.

This year I made one simple change. I didn’t ask what they wanted for Christmas, or talk about what they might get, or worry about making them happy.  I simply delighted in shopping for the things they love.  And I put our focus as a family on blessing the world and the people around us.

Quinn declared it “the best Christmas ever!” a phrase he may use every Christmas, he IS a man of passion.  Together we enjoyed beautiful books, games, art supplies and luxuries.  We sat in front of the fire and ate simple nourishing food by candlelight.  We looked into each others eyes.  We played outdoors in the unseasonably warm weather.  We snuggled our pets. We called our families.  We remembered that we are blessed.

There are so many beautiful ways to celebrate Christmas.  No right way to do so.  To celebrate the birthday of the God-man Jesus, we must simply remember to celebrate the things He loves: people, beauty, compassion and delight.  It’s not bad to step outdoors, to savor amazing food, to share our tables with those in need of family.  It’s not selfish to want gifts, or to buy them for others.  In the end, we will begin tomorrow, just the same, perhaps with a few more things or a little less cash in our bank accounts.  Still people, loving Jesus day by day.  Stepping into the trouble and trial of relationship and becoming more ourselves with each moment.  Still incomplete, imperfect.  Still beautiful.  Still His.

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