The True Heart of Christmas, Not Sold in Stores

(read in :03) It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.~W T Ellis

Take a look at the battle lines. They’ve been in place for a while now. On social media and almost every place we look, there’s a battle for our heart.

On one side are gorgeous magazine covers, Pinterest pins, HGTV and television commercials. The decorating gurus beckon us, crooning that our home must be sparkly, trendy and impeccably coordinated for the holidays. From the top of the tree to the stuff on our wall, dash away! dash away! dash away to the mall!

On the opposite side of the battlefield, there’s another face, staring down the Goliath of commercialism. It’s quiet and David-like; small but determined and strong. All along the sidelines are followers, cheering him on. They’re the mavericks who’ve discovered it is possible to jump off the hamster wheel of “never enough stuff”.

A collective change of heart is happening right now

Gradually, from the margins of our culture, a new movement has begun. Every cultural shift that shakes the rafters begins in the same way; quietly, from the fringe, almost imperceptible at first, embraced by only the bravest few. We see the evidence in blogs and magazine articles about minimalism, spirituality, and simplicity. YouTube videos and TED talks are bubbling up, warning us of the toxic effects our excess consumption has on people and on our planet. Messages urging us to rethink our priorities.

The “buy buy buy” mentality we’ve embraced for so long has reached a crescendo. And it’s sobering to observe that our collective happiness has plunged even though we have more and more stuff in our larger and larger homes. The equation has been proofed. More stuff does not equal happiness.

It takes focus and effort to recover from any addiction (and let’s call it what it is.) Even more important, it requires strong desire and an understanding of our unique reason “why.” Take a deep breath and ask yourself if the hurry and worry are worth leaving you with less peace, less time and less joy. Deep in our soul, we know the answer. Believe me, I’m working on it too.

Personally, I always go back to scripture for affirmation of my thinking, checking to make sure that I am headed in the right direction. The Bible is full of references to surrendering our need for “more stuff.” Luke says it eloquently in 6:34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” And in 12:15, “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

But I’m not the Grinch!

I’m not here to take away your glitter, your sprinkles or your sequins. I happen to love them all! And, I’m not suggesting that you should throw away all your holiday décor or dress in burlap for that party (although it might look amazing with a wide gold cinch belt and huge hoop earrings). Nothing drastic. In everything that is worthwhile, changes must be heartfelt and gradual to stick. Try this today. Pause a sacred minute before you add one more thing to your to-do list and ask yourself if it will be a blessing or a burden.

More than anything else, my Christmas wish for you is joy in small things, peace, tranquility and knowing that the best gift we ever received came to us humbly, unwrapped and lying in a manger. Blessings to you for a Christmas that is divinely simple and simply divine.


    • Betty Streff

      I’ll bet it is absolutely picture postcard perfect where you are!! I am anxious to visit!

  • Grant Newbold

    Betty. Thanks so much for this message. Personally, I have been accumulating things for a long time. At one time that meant very frequent auctions and other searches for bargains. Now I am seeking to purge and use my own Worthy Value First focus to help me concentrate on things that will help me build my Legacy Of Greatness. It is difficult. I also agree that this call to simpler living doesn’t mean joyless deprivation but rather it is a call to purposeful and meaningful living. Thanks for a timely message for this joyful season. Talk to you again soon. Doc Newbold.

    • Betty Streff

      I have found purging to be liberating and that it creates a feeling of lightness. Our basic needs are very simple. If something truly gives us joy, it is worth holding on to. If not, it needs to move out of our space. It’s really pretty straightforward and simple. Not easy but it is simple.

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