For as long as I can remember, the local TV station (of course, in New Orleans, where I’m from, that was run by the Jesuits!) would periodically run, during the holidays, a PSA message reminding us to keep Christ in your Christmas. But I cannot tell you how blind we are to the lack of Christ in the Christmas season.
Last night, my wife and I were out delivering presents, admittedly not going very far, but driving 10 miles, admiring the light shows some people had out, I noticed only one outdoor nativity scene.
Well, it all starts in your heart (and mine). This year, we rejected consumerism. Oh, we gave gifts. Baked cookies and divinity candy and sent them across country, locals got a cheesecake. Mostly, the ingredients cost less than $7 per package, and that mostly for wrapping. But the point is that it came from the heart, not from a wide-open wallet. Instead of choosing something from a catalog with very little thought, and having it sent, we made our gifts, wrapped them, packaged them and sent them. The wise men gave what they had, and they gave from their heart. They gave something they wanted to give because they wanted to. You shouldn’t give yourself presents, as some commercials have touted (notably the Cadillac commercial), unless you are asked.
All this materialism, all this consumerism, all this me-ism. I want. Why? Because I want it. Well, this world is not about us. It’s about God. God told us what he wants, it’s in Exodus 20, and summarized by Jesus. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus even cajoles us to love others more than ourselves.
I took this principle into my heart in the last few years. I gave up my attachment to pornography three years ago. That includes the pornography in advertisement and public television, as well as ‘men’s’ magazines and internet porn.
I gave up my attachment to smoking three months ago.
Some people say that it’s very hard to give up attachments, but it’s not so hard if you just allow Christ to take over your heart. I smoked for 40 years. I had society’s attitude about feminine beauty for at least that long. Three years ago I started allowing Jesus to have my heart. Many attachments have just dropped by the wayside. He’s deeper in my heart every day.
Start today. Pray to Jesus to take your attachment and replace it with his love. Try understanding what Jesus means in my previous post about Yoked…you see, a yoke is meant to be born by two beasts, you…and Jesus.