Do you celebrate the Christmas season? Do you feel the reason for the celebration gets lost in shopping and worrying about what amounts to trivial issues? Do you plan on spending time with family?
As I write this I think of my daughter’s specific request for Christmas, yep… You guessed it. She wants red tennis shoes.
“The Christmas Shoes”
“The Christmas Shoes” a story written by Donna Van Liere about a poor young boy who wants to purchase shoes for his dying mother so that when she sees Jesus she will have her “Christmas shoes” on. He has only a few cents. A young man in the check out hears this boy’s story. He purchases the shoes so that this young boy can gift these shoes to his mother.
What’s the point?
To me the shoes represent so much more than just a gift exchange. The shoes represent the true poverty, hardship, and sickness that this mother had gone through. Her little boy recognized and appreciated his mother. His mother would receive a new healthy body, that could walk down streets of gold, and live in a mansion on a hill in heaven. The song always makes me cry. It is a beautiful attribute of what the season is really about. Love and Jesus.
My daughter didn’t call the shoes that she wanted “Christmas shoes” but the color red brings to mind everything that is associated with Jesus. He shed his red blood for my sins. He sacrificed His life for my sins. His gift to humanity was life eternal. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. For without Him, there would be no point.
I sacrifice (waste) my time and energy struggling to please everyone. I want everyone to be happy, especially during this time. But if I really wanted to celebrate the Christmas season I would forget about all the material gifts that I “think” I need to find and buy for everyone. Material things are not even close to the equivalent of real love. Why do I (we) feel this way? Why do I put so much emotional attachment on “things”? Are material things our God? Do we put our faith in material things and material comforts? Yes, I think I (we) do. Our emotional attachment should be to God.
Real love lost
The expression of real love only comes from Jesus. Somehow our society, at least in United States, has had a memory lapse. Our country is a mere 250 years old, founded on Christian principals from scripture. Yet people have commercialized every aspect of Christianity from selling Jesus, to not proclaiming that Jesus lived and died for us. So much blood has been sacrificed in battles and wars to keep our country liberated in freedom. Why then do we choose to ignore the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for the entire world, so that none, no not one would perish into eternal damnation?
My memories of Her memories
My mother use to tell me that she looked forward to Christmas time because her parents, my grandparents always got her fruit and peppermint. She never experienced “entitlement” like I believe most people feel today. She worked hard and had little expectation of things being handed to her. She had so much appreciation for things she earned and things that were occasionally given to her as a child, such as fruit for Christmas or new to her dress for birthdays.
Yet Jesus hands us His hand of love, grace, and mercy at every turn and we don’t know how to accept it much less appreciate it.
My mother’s parent grew up in the early 1900s and lived through the Great Depression of 1929. The poverty in the area was a great teacher for the people who didn’t starve to death during that time. They saved and recycled or re-purposed everything they possible could. They farmed the land and were forced to be self sustaining. In rural middle Tennessee, there were no soup kitchens and very limited charitable organizations to contribute to the life of the poor people who so desperately needed it. If there was no land ownership, there was no food.
Feelings of Guilt
I guess I’m sharing all of this because when I think of all the amenities and wealth that we as a nation have today, I’m ashamed. I was spoiled as a child. Given everything I needed and more often than not, I received whatever I wanted. My daughter wants red tennis shoes. And although my head wants to somehow make her understand sacrifice, my heart is compelled to use material things, like the red tennis shoes to make her happy knowing that she will only be superficially happy for a few hours. Entitlement has been ingrained in my generation and my children’s generation. Where does it end?
Stop taking everything for granted
My mother smiled when she talked about getting that fruit. She received so much happiness and joy from those memories. Today we take for granted everything which should be appreciated. Jesus never took us for granted even though we were not yet born. Our parents nor grandparents nor their parents and grandparents were born. Yet we were on His mind and we have a heritage so great.
Christmas shoes!…mmm… I hope your can hear the sarcasm in my voice as I write to myself. Once they are thrown in the closet, they are no longer even honored as a special gift. I must break this cycle.
Why am I sharing this?
My mother passed in 2006. It was December 14th of that year. I’m older now. When I was a child, I thought as child. But now that I’m adult, I should think as an adult. I shouldn’t be concerned about making everyone on this earth happy by giving them material things. It is my obligation to teach my children to appreciate their heritage and not feel that this country, this government, this world owes them.
I honestly don’t have an answer to this entitlement crisis. Expressing faith and prayer seriously would help. Taking Jesus seriously would help. Reading scripture and applying it to our lives would help. The only entitlement we actually have is the opportunity to live for the Lord. We are entitled to walk in heaven on streets of gold in beautiful new shoes.
All the trivial things of this world will return to dust one day. Family will no longer be here, one day. I want to appreciate and regard the love of my family and fellow human beings with the greatest of love and respect that bring a lifetime of joy, not with tangible items that only bring happiness for a few minutes.
If you plan on making resolution for the new upcoming 2019 year. I encourage you to take your faith and prayer serious. Take Jesus serious. Read scripture and apply it to your lives. Choose to love your family with your heart all year long, not just at holidays.
Today folks, that’s my view. If you have questions or comments please feel free to express yourself below. Until next time… enjoy your view.