I finally sat down to write my post for the evening, after a day finishing the annual chore of putting up the Christmas decorations. We’ve been working on this project for three days now – on and off. Two trees, a few lights outside, various wreaths throughout the house, candles in the windows and so many other decorations, many that we have had for years.
All in all, it’s been a good week-end. Thanksgiving was great – Jill, Tom and Drew spent a week with us and then headed back to Oklahoma Friday morning. Since then, we’ve been ramping up for Christmas. We have a rule in our home – no preparing for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. So out came the boxes, and the candles, and the bags stuffed with holiday pillows – all ready to be put up for another year in the Toussaint home. We even went out this afternoon and bought the requisite amaryllis bulb to grow during the month of the December.
Last evening, we went to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch Carmel High School win the 5A High School Football Title for the second time in 5 years. Carmel, the community where we live, sometimes gets a hard knock. People assume everyone who lives here is wealthy (not true) and there are all kinds of jokes about the people who call Carmel home. We do have a great educational system and it is true that many of the area corporate executives call Carmel home. The high school has more than 4500 students, the church we attend has more than 6000 attendees and the more I think about it, we probably do live in a bubble. Oh, I like to think that we’re like every middle class community across the country, but in my heart, I know that we are lucky to be here.
That really hit home this evening as I turned on 60 Minutes, a show that I have started watching again after remembering it from my childhood. It’s only been in the last 6 months or so that I have tried to seriously watch the show. But I wasn’t prepared tonight for the first topic they talked about. Especially after all the great experiences of this past week-end. It was about homelessness – and it kind of hit me right in the face.
Sixteen million homeless kids. School buses altering their routes to pick up kids living in cheap motels with their families – because they’ve lost their homes. Four years into the recession and things are getting worse. Families living in truck trailers, or in the back seat of the family car. Kids looking at their life in the family car as an “experience.” Schools grappling with the problems associated with illness, hygiene, attendance, safety and all the other issues related to having no place to call home…..
My mind raced between the telecast and the recollection of how many times this week-end either Janet or I remarked, “Gee, I forgot we had this…..” Ever get that way? Are you one of those people who have so much stuff that you can’t remember it all? And then you are amazed when something turns up that you forgot you owned… That happens to us all the time, especially when we bring out the Christmas decorations. It’s like a treasure hunt. We find all this stuff that we put away some time ago and then forgot it was there.
And then there are the news reports about Black Friday. Sales were up more than 7% over last year. More than $1 billion MORE was spent on Friday than last year. One broadcast said that 152 million people went shopping this week-end and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is predicted to be a huge success this year. Know why Monday is such a big online day? Because people report to work and log on to the office computer to do personal shopping. What’s that say about the integrity of our workforce? But that’s off the subject for tonight. Suffice it to say that most of us have more, make that far more, than we need. And yet, it’s still about getting more stuff. Or hoarding the stuff you already have.
And I’m just as guilty, if not more so, than the next person. So, I went in search of an appropriate Bible verse tonight. I ended up in Amos 3:10, “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD, “who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses.” If we put that verse into more modern language, it might read, “People who go out and get more stuff to put in their homes, and hoard what they already have, don’t understand the Kingdom of God.” Guilty as charged……
My encouragement tonight is to let you know that it’s not too late to focus on those things that are important to God! I know that we have certain necessities, but most of us overdo it – and it usually manifests itself at this time of year. And I hope that I haven’t lost you as a reader now that I have suggested that most of us live in excess. My prayer is that you thank the Lord for all that you have; and furthermore, that you will consider cutting back a little bit on the material aspect of Christmas this year. After all, there are far more important things than having another video game, or a third car in the garage, or a summer home….. Any maybe we can all spend a little more time in prayer, and in action, helping those families living in trailers and the backseats of cars…..