Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving and Materialism

The Christmas season is nearly upon us, that merry time in which we all are supposed to decry materialism, but buy things anyway, and then feel guilty about it, but then feel smug and self-righteous for feeling guilty.

Am I right?

The seasonal blog posts attacking or defending buying stuff during the Christmas season are inevitable, but the spirit of guilt and confusion doesn't have to be.

It's actually a logical progression from Thanksgiving to Christmas shopping. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of gratefulness, of counting your blessings. Gratefulness for your blessings should cause you to want to turn around and bless other people in the ways that you have been blessed.

Christmas gift-giving is a tradition of blessing other people as a small picture of how Christ blessed us. Sometimes these gifts are material things, and sometimes they are not. But people who rail against giving gifts have forgotten this. People who buy gifts because they love sales and love stuff have also forgotten this.

To be clear: trampling people for sales is not good. But neither is feeling guilty about buying gifts because of how the tramplers think. If you're buying gifts for the people you love, because you love them, and because you are so thankful for what you have been given (something that you remember on Thanksgiving) then you are truly entering into the spirit of Christmas. 

God gave us the greatest blessing through Christ. What blessings are we grateful for, and how will we reflect that this season? 

That's what should be running through our minds this time of year, not: I can't believe they bought that expensive TV. How materialistic! But also not: I wonder how many of those TV's I can buy. Oh dear, did I just trample someone?

This time of year, our spirit should be one of thankfulness and gratefulness for our overflowing blessings. And it should also be the kind of spirit that doesn't hold our blessings tightly in one closed fist, keeping them all for ourselves, but the kind that, like God, opens up our hands and gives just as freely to others. That is true thankfulness.


  1. This is very well thought out Lauren!
    I appreciate your ability to deconstruct an argument and reconstruct it logically
    it makes your blog a delight to read!

  2. It seems impossible that all this is upon us but you are SO right! We tend to lose sight of God's gift in all the beauty, fun and shiny things of the season.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Lauren!

  3. This is very true. Christmas is turning into a time of arguing with others whether we should give gifts or no. Arguing over who is more godly, who is celebrating right, if gifts should be given or not. And everyone is forgetting why we celebrate.
    Whether a family gives gifts or not, they shouldn't go about and point fingers at each other. We all need to look at our hearts and find out WHY we are doing it. Where is our heart? Is it wanting to give glory to God or wanting to make ourselves look and feel better?

  4. More than ever as you get older, I think you become more grateful, not perfect, but better at appreciating the true gifts we have -- love of our family, friends, good memories, and. . .the mystery of God.



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