From Season of Promises
If you have money, consider that perhaps the only reason God allowed it to fall into your hands was in order that you might find joy and perfection by giving it all away. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)
Sometimes it is easy for Advent to get mixed up with the great American season of shopping. We call it the “Shopping Season,” even capitalizing the first letters of the words. Heavy duty stuff, here. The Shopping Season!
Peculiar things go on in our heads during the Christmas Shopping Season. We get discombobulated. In our heart, and in our mind, we get discombobulated. We get the Shopping Season mixed up with the most remarkable things. Love, for example. We get Shopping mixed up with love. We honestly think that if we truly love someone we must Go Shopping and buy that person a Gift. Otherwise, he or she will not feel loved. Trouble is, often the people we feel we must buy Gifts for do, in fact, feel that way. If we don’t buy them Gifts, they will feel unloved.
‘Tis a puzzlement, as the king says in the musical, The King and I. Indeed it is. What a strange world we live in, where love and feeling loved require the giving of Gifts, and not just any gifts, mind you. Especially when it comes to children, we must buy them the Latest Things, the Current Craze, otherwise they will feel unloved. We believe that we are bad parents and grandparents if we don’t buy the children What They Want.
Maybe it can’t be helped. Not entirely, at least. But we can do something. We can modify perceptions. We can make a big deal out of giving away money to worthy causes for Christmas, too. We can make sure the children see us doing as much for those who have nothing as we do for those who have plenty. During Advent we can do this. We can.
God of Advent, fill my heart with a deep desire to show love for those who have little. Amen.