It’s Christmas! I’m in school to be a teacher at the moment and have definitely been enjoying a break over the past few days from teaching and from my own classes. I’ve filled my days with Christmas baking, shopping and wrapping. I certainly enjoy all these things and look forward to them every year, but I can’t help but notice that I still crawl into bed exhausted at the end of the day. Some days I feel almost like I’m back to practice teaching, like I’m on my feet teaching all day and then planning for the next day all evening. And this is supposed to be vacation!
It’s funny. I am compelled to “consume” and to fill my life with “stuff” even during the time when it would make most sense to empty it! When I think about consumerism, I tend to think of it in terms of the things that I buy for myself, particularly the things that I don’t need. So, I tend to think I’m doing my part when I try to make my own tea in the morning, cook as often as possible rather than going out for dinner and not buy everything that I’d like.
What I fail to realize is that consumerism (for me, anyway) is so much deeper than that. By definition, consumerism refers to the consumption of “goods” or tangible things. But I consume so much more. I’m rushing around buying gifts, creating perfect Christmas cookies and trying to decorate my apartment. Is this all for me? No. Does it have anything to do with my image? I’d say so.
None of these are necessarily negative in and of themselves, but I can’t get past the fact that I’m tiring myself out by “consuming” in one way or another. Where should I be limiting myself so that I’m not coming out of this holiday season just as stressed as when it began?
My church has been promoting “Advent Conspiracy” (www.adventconspiracy.org), an organization dedicated to promoting a different kind of Christmas, over the past few weeks. And I must admit I’m intrigued! We’re asking ourselves how Christmas transformed from a life changing, eternally significant event to a time when our stress soars and our consumerism skyrockets. The message is simple: “Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.” But am I ready?
What if I took up this challenge? I’m not sure how this would look in my life and I wonder if I’ve missed the boat this Christmas, but I want to know what I would do differently.
Until next time….Merry Christmas!