Another year’s Christmas-ing has come and gone. All of the Adventing, Jesse-Tree-ing,decorating, and anticipation culminating in a giant smattering of presents to open, meals to enjoy, and time with family/friends. Christ has arrived, and therefore things are incredibly different in God-filled ways.
This year, our girls each received one “large item” from Saint Nick (though I’m pretty sure our oldest is beginning to understand all may not be as it appears). They LOVE their gifts, and proudly announced to the entire church as they walked through the halls that next Sunday morning: “I got a violin!!!” “I got a Kindle!” “I got an iPad!!” I’m sure no one paid any attention, but in my head it was “Oh really? You’re family in the midst of raising funds for an adoption was able to stack up quite a Christmas, eh?”
Not that it’s on me to defend, I will explain because I find it humorous…
Yes, we got a child’s violin for $50 off Craigslist. Yes, we got a “reading only” economy version of a Kindle on E-bay. Yes, we got a VTech play-learning device that Ruby refers to as her “iPad”. I realize compared to most of the world, we are ridiculously wealthy.
Nevertheless, I’m really excited how joyful my girls get over “little things”. You should’ve seen how long they spent pouring over the cheap candy in their stockings, even as giant wrapped packages waited under the tree. I hope and pray we can retain this sense of gratitude even (and especially) as they grow older. Our world certainly is quick to point out things you don’t have, or upgrades you need to make. I’ve been reading Gordie Howe’s autobiography recently, “Mr.Hockey”, and it’s pretty incredible to read how he grew up in a very limited home and time – yet was incredibly thankful for all the things he had.
“Comparison Living” is something that increases more and more with every new social media app that’s invented. Even if we’re aware of it, and try not to be impacted by it, we cannot help but subconsciously be aware of things that exist, that we desire. Things/events other people enjoy, that we’d like to enjoy.
There are enough blogs and books already out there to help you combat this illness, I don’t intend to write long on it today. But as a parent, I want to protect my children from being carried away by this for sure. Which means having “The Talk” about it, even at the ages they currently are. It means helping point out the great things we have to be thankful for, even in the midst of not having something we’ve been praying a couple years for already. It means pointing out what God is doing in and through your family, even when miracles don’t seem to be happening this week.
This flows out and impacts so many areas of life, but begins right here – by developing parental hearts of gratitude. Becoming an adult who recognizes and practices how to be thankful today. My children will learn it best when they see mommy and daddy practicing it regularly. That’s something my wife constantly reminds us of, and seems to have understood long before I did.
So how does thankfulness impact the life you’re living this week? Will you allow a heart made grateful by God to set you free from “comparison living”, at least somewhat? 🙂 The next generation depends on us passing on the rich inheritance of contentedness…