Saturday, December 22

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Experiencing God as Joy: Consumerism
Scripture: Isaiah 12:2

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.”

What if you could wake up in the morning and the only things there were to be aware of were the sun coming up, the sky, all the living things around you, the air? What if there was no phone, no internet, no newspaper, radio or TV, no job, schedule, or need for money, no conflict? What if there was only the sound of a breeze, of birds chirping, the silence of snow falling, the sound of a stream of water, the silence of a still night, the majesty of a sky filled with stars?

Would we be closer to God? Closer to being full of joy? Closer to the oneness of everything? I think yes, we would.

But we live in this world, where we have to have a means of survival, of providing food, clothing and shelter. We live in this economy that bombards us every day with messages about money and things. “Rely on me (money),” “try me,” “buy me,” “you want me,” “you need me.” The advertisers are so skilled at exploiting our human weaknesses—fear, greed, wanting to fit in. We have to fend off so much every day to remember our connection to God. To remember that our connection to God is why we are here on earth, and that money is just a tool to help us live.

About 16 years ago, I invited a family from Ghana into my life and house. They had 2 small children, a third was born here. This made plenty of excuses for me to gradually get carried away with presents at Christmas. After two or three Christmases they were telling me that some of the presents didn’t make sense to them. In Ghana everyone goes to church on Christmas Day. Church is full of joy—singing and dancing—and lasts 3-4 hours. Then everyone cooks, and takes food to friends and neighbors. While you are out taking food somewhere, someone is bringing food to you. There are no presents like we do. The gift is being together, in church, and then in sharing food.

Lord, help me to stop and listen with my heart. Help me to give from my heart. May I remember that I am created in Your image, the image of Eternity. May I not forget my true heritage, and may my heart move ever closer to You. Amen.

~Anna Schoettle