Thursday, November 30, 2006

'Tis the Season

i don't know if any of you have noticed this, but the season of buying things is well underway. any time i step into a store or turn on the tv--music, ads, lights, camera, action! if chris *really* loved me he would buy me a heartstone diamond necklace, and if i really loved *him*, i would get him the newest cool cellphone that can make phone calls AND breakfast with the touch of a button. the other day i came in to the room while an ad for a minivan was on, and i found myself dancing to the music--besides the obvious scariness of a minivan commercial being targeted at my demographic (now that i am Really Old), it struck me how easy it is to be sucked in to the idea that if i just had this One More Thing, i would really be "much happier."

i have been thinking about this for a while. on one of the message boards that i like to read, some of the people there have been talking about this thing they call The Compact, explained through this quote, taken from a blog on the subject:

1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)"

essentially, these people forming a Compact have all made a commitment that for one year they will buy nothing new, except food and health items. instead of going to target or the mall when something is needed, they have commited to finding it secondhand, or going without if the item turns out to be unneccessary; in this way, they are seeking to reduce the amount of resources that are consumed by their lifestyle and to examine the role that consumerism plays in the culture around them. buying nothing new doesn't seem that revolutionary, until i think about it for a while, and maybe you can too--how many things as i look around my room were bought new, when they didn't have to be? how easy is it to walk into target with a list of things i "need", and walk out with 1 or 2 or 5 more things that i didn't know i "needed" until i was walking around the store? while i am not ready to be as committed as some of these people are, the idea of being that mindful of my role in using global resources is intriguing. if you haven't seen it already, there is a very thought-provoking quiz that you can take to see where you rank in your use of natural resources--the results may shock you, as they did me.

rehearsals are underway for the christmas choir, and one of the songs that we sing always strikes me as i think about this subject. the name of the song is This is My Everything, and the words read:
"All that I love, all that I prize,
all that I cherish more than my life,
all is surrendered. I will be poor, for Your glory.
Resting in all You are, trusting Your loving heart,
'Cause this is my everything, this is my offering.
All that I have I bring. This is my offering."

the line that sticks out to me the most is "i will be poor for your glory". i am not poor. i never have been--even when money is tight, i would never consider myself to be poor--and i wonder what it would mean to truly be poor for the glory of God. how radical would that be, to truly give up on material things in order to serve God more fully--like the compact, but with an eye trained toward an eternal goal. and additionally, to trust that God would be faithful to provide for what i need, that i could rest in who He is and His love for me, rather than my own ability to *aquire*. especially at christmastime, when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, a man who lived "poorly" by the world's standard, it seems that i could do more to pattern my life after his example. and i'm guessing it doesn't involve the newest ipod, no matter how cool the commercial is.
Photo credit: Flickr user "eston"


be_a_Mary said...

Hey Christy,
Curtis and I have talked a lot about acquiring things, particularly as it relates to raising kids, and as it plays out with our living in one of the most wealthy areas of the country (Orange County). Our neice (12) was filling out her Christmas letter to Santa and she asked for an ipod nano and a horse. ?!?! How unrealistic is this? But not so here in OC. We are very careful to limit the number of 'presents' our kids get during the holidays & birthdays, and also very careful not to have too many toys. It is hard to keep perspective though. Good reminder!

Anonymous said...

Christy, How I love hearing about your family. Those boys are adorable. But, you and Matt were cute as can be and happy too.

Thanks to Chris for the updates and pictures he is so good at sending.

We love you guys. Glad you are all finished upchucking.

xoxo, Aunt Paula