Sunday, December 14, 2008

"It's Not About Me"

It's Christmas time. We can tell because of the increased traffic, the slammed malls (even in this time of economic turmoil), the Christmas lights adorning neighborhoods, even the occasional church sign that mentions Advent. We know its Christmas because every jewelry store, toy store and car dealership are working overtime and drying up their marketing budgets with advertisements. Yes, it's the special time of year that can be so intoxicating that it makes you forget, quite often really, what Christmas is all about. Heck, it even makes you forget how much money is the bank or frankly, how much money you make, thus causing you to spend exceedingly and abundantly more than you need.

If you're brave enough to face the crowds and the holiday parking Grinch's at the mall, then you have probably run across a child or two. I have one attached at my hip, so I am always blessed with his attitudes; good and bad. As a mother who is working incredibly hard this Christmas to instill certain ideas in my son, I pick up on the other kids saying things I'm trying to keep mine from saying...but am not always successful at. For example, this is the best time of year for MErry Christmas spirit. This is not the true spirit of Christmas, but the spirit of ME. It's all about me. It's about what I want, what toys I "need", what clothes I don't want, I, I, I, me, me, me...I need it, I want it, I must have it...and of course the predictable temper tantrum as you leave the story without the item your child screamed he could not live without. At two and a half, my son has started saying things like I need that and I can see some of these very natural selfish "me" tendencies. But you know, its not just kids I see and hear this from.

I was at the mall the other day and I was looking at purses, as I so love to do. I enjoy looking at the pretty and expensive ones though I never buy them. You know, mortgage or a purse...hmmm. Anyway, there was this woman there with her significant other, not sure if they were married or not, and they had to be in their early 40s. This woman grabbed an amazingly pretty Coach purse up off the table, galloped over to her man and started saying, rather loudly I might add, "Oh honey, I've just got to have this. Isn't it perfect. Look, it even makes my face look thinner. I must have this. Can I have this?" To this of course, her man looks at her and says, "you cannot be serious. $400 for a purse? Sorry, but no, we can't afford it." To this she replied, "Fine." Then she throws it on the table and tells him if he stopped loving her, he should have just told her instead of making a big scene of it in public.

No...I'm not kidding. That really did happen. I don't want you to be judgemental of the woman though. I have no idea the dynamics of their relationship, nor the whole story. What I do know, is that people of all ages, suffer from MEism. We think things are all about me. Our children have to live their lives the way I want them to or I won't love them as much. My spouse has to act ideally as I'd like or I'll leave them because I just can't be miserable. I must have that purse even though I can't pay my bills. What about me? Why didn't you buy me anything? Why don't you love me? Why didn't I get what I asked for under the tree?

Catch my drift? It's like that in so many ways for all of us. We can think of people who can only see what's right in front of their face, rather than the bigger picture. There are people who physically cannot be happy for someone unless that person does everything exactly as they'd like them to. People will advance themselves in their career's no matter the cost: to family, friends, co-workers...even to self. People do mission work, but they don't do it for the people they help, they do it or give money to charity so that they can be photographed handing over a big check or painting a building. How many celebrity photos do we see of them spending time with the poor in other countries? I've seen a lot...but how much of their money goes to those same children? People around the world are hungry tonight, cold tonight, homeless and alone and yet...our malls are packed, our credit cards maxed out, our houses double and triple mortgaged, our cars one missed payment away from repo and we still think we NEED that new Coach purse. We don't even give to God, tithing or otherwise, like we used to. Our tithes are down, are savings accounts empty, our churches closing and what do we have to show for? Hungry, poor, homeless, lonely, sick...I could keep going. We have become so intent on completely destroying ourselves, our families, our friendships, our lives, just so that we can satisfy that ME craving.

The Seven Deadly ME Sins:
Lust - all about ME desires.
Gluttony - all about ME consumption.
Greed - all about the ME wants.
Sloth - all about the ME apathy.
Wrath - all about ME anger.
Envy - all about ME jealousy.
Pride - all about ME vanity.

Now look back over those sins. You can't have any one of those without a ME centered attitude. And you can't be giving the love to neighbor, God and self as Christ asked us to, if we have this ME centered attitude.

The bottom line, is that Christmas, just like life, is not about ME or YOU or US or THEY, but it's always been and always will be about HIM. It's all about Jesus. Be intentional both personally and with those you know, to not just celebrate the merriment of the holiday's, but also celebrate the reason. At my home, we enjoy Snowmen and Santa and Reindeer and so much more, but we do Advent activities and we talk about how it's Jesus' birthday that we're celebrating and in fact, we practice singing Happy Birthday Jesus! As long as we can all remember as we're standing in line at the store, putting through miserable mall traffic, trying not to strangle your child screaming "mine"...that's its all about HIM. We can't afford to take our eyes off of HIM. Be intentional, be compassionate, be the spirit of CHRISTmas rather than the MErry Christmas spirit.


Darryl said...

Thanks for sharing such an important reminder . . . it's so easy to slip into the ME mode, even unintentionally, when we allow society to influence our perspective instead of focusing on Him.

ben and erin said...

my goodness i can't believe that lady said that! my husband must really hate me because i don't even get to buy the $40 purse! lol
good thoughts to ponder... thanks!

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