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 ‘O God, I do like real things like money and houses, fast automobiles, and diamond rings.’ (K.G. Phipher)

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or as some big stores are promoting, ‘Cyber Week,’ and now even ‘Cyber Month’! We learn we can get our Christmas gifts at bargain prices. It is easy to think of Christmas as being about ‘things.’ We even encourage our children to write lists of ‘things’ they might like from Santa for Christmas. Of course, it’s not just the children. We as adults can become focused on ‘things.’ We can also justify to ourselves that the time we spend playing with or using the things we get is not all bad. We can even be creative with them as they take up more and more time. When we start to become so involved in acquiring these ‘things,’ we can end up forgetting who we are. We collect more and more of them until, in the end, they are cluttering our lives.

This Advent season, it might be a good idea to invite God to help us clear away some of the clutter. To guide us as we pick our ways through the crowded stores, to quieten our life long enough to hear the angels.  Is it possible that your Word about life in all its fullness can break through the tawdry of commercials? The commercials that insist life can be better if we just go deeper into debt? Do We really need to substitute gifts for the giving of ourselves? Would it be better to say, “I love you,” as we pass out the presents? Wouldn’t we come closer to people by spending as much time listening as we do shopping? Are we in our busyness losing touch with the things that are most real to us? Are we losing touch with God and with the child God sent to grow to be a man, whose word was your Word and whose love was your Love?

We all like ‘things,’ and we know that if we really listen carefully, we may hear the most fundamental things of all, things like hope and love and faith, that can change lives, even ours, and renew them in the image of Christ.

Shalom to you, my friend.