You've heard of the "Pay it Foward" movement… even may have seen the movie about it. A little boy choosing 3 people to do something kind to and suddenly thousands of lives are touched through those acts of kindness.
We're a selfish people. No guilt-inducing intent here. Just the facts. We're selfish and self-centered even when giving gifts to other people. We've been deluded into thinking that the "good stuff" is jewellery… clothing… toys… video games… books (ouch!)… cars… all this material wealth. What we're not seeing is how destructive this mindset is. We complain about Christmas consumerism, but get VERY upset when we don't get the iPod we demanded… or the new dress… or the pearls… or the boat… or whatever it is that we're lusting after.
And let's face it: it IS a form of lust.
Christmas presents are so embedded into our psyches as a MUST HAVE for Christmas morning, that Christmas is just NOT Christmas without them!
And we're causing more damage the good than we think. Not only are people around the world being forced to work 100 hours/week to keep up with our selfish demand, but our spiritual health is sick becames of our selfishness.
So I've set out a challenge for my youth at church: THE DOCK CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE (our youth group is called 'The Dock').
THE CHALLENGE: Pick one person (a family member or friend) and commit to NOT buying gifts for each other AT ALL… nothing. Not a dime. Take the money you would have spent and use it to…
– sponsor a child with Compassion Canada or World Vision
– save for a missions/service trip where you can get your hands dirty and actually help out
– donate the money you would have spent to a charity of your choice
– brainstorm ways of making gifts that really mean something with consuming
– buy all the fixings for a HUGE turkey dinner, make it all up with your partner, go downtown and serve dinner to whoever passes by
There are TONNES of ideas out there! Not only do we need to stop the cycle of abusive consumerism because people are quite literally dying around the world because of our selfishness, but we need to take care of our spiritual health by releasing our wants and demands.
This is the catch: the challenge requires that you don't expect ANYTHING back. Nothing. We sometimes think that if we do positive things, the law of karma will magically kick in and we'll get those good things back. Not always so and hardly ever in the ways we think. In fact, we might even just go a whole Christmas without ANY presents AT ALL! (gasp!!!)… but that's the fundamental point: to give without expecting anything in return. God will take care of all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Do we believe that?
You up for a challenge?
If you have more ideas on how to change the Christmas cycle of pretty wrapped boxes under a tree, post them here! We're eager to know what you think!