Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, November 23, 2012

From Greed to Gratefulness This Year

Some woman was sitting in front of a Best Buy days before the holiday to save $240 on a television set on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Really? She gave up family time, a meal with those she loves and who knows what else all for a couple hundred dollars.

Of course that's a pretty extreme example, but I wonder how many of us really think about the messages we're sending to our kids, spouses and selves that really say, "You know, this Thanksgiving thing is really all about me getting what I want when I want it."  While we might suggest that we're really grateful people (and most of us probably are), are we still saying that it's not enough?

Sure, some people like the fun, tradition and the fact that maybe they really did get a good deal. And there's nothing inherently wrong in any of that. But why do we have to have that during a holiday that we call Thanksgiving? Couldn't we stop for a few days and truly be thankful, talk about how blessed we are and not have to have the next bigger, better, cheaper or even more expensive thing?

I wonder if a lot of the dysfunction and even emotional struggle in our country isn't because we have forgotten how to be thankful and grateful for what we have. Have we isolated ourselves that much from people not far from us as well as those around the world who have next to nothing and yet are probably happier than we are in many ways?

Can I suggest a few alternatives this year?  First, just skip all the drastic bargain hunting. Stay home, enjoy the days off and truly spend some time thanking God for your blessings.  Enjoy some things that are really priceless like time with people you love.

Second, cut back on Christmas gifts. If you have to spend money, give it away or go make someone else's holiday that much better. Find a mission agency and buy something for someone in another country that will make them ongoing income throughout the year. Give each family member a small amount of money and see who can get the most for someone else in the family with that little bit. I'll bet you'll remember that Christmas like never before.

Third, decide on some ways you can live differently all year long.  Christmas is just around the corner. Other sales, holidays, birthdays and random moments will beckon us to spend money on more things we don't really need and miss opportunities to bless someone in need. Why not commit to helping your family learn what it means to feel really alive by giving more away than we get?

Remember the things our kids learn best are those we model most. Think about how to model things that will last not just a lifetime but an eternity.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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