Monday, December 5, 2011

"12-13-14-15" by Lois Handy

December shopping is the extended excitement of not having a clue what I’m looking for! 

It’s scanning the aisles, noticing something that is utterly perfect for a particular person, checking the price, gasping aloud that I’ve scored a sale, and then patting myself on the back for a shop well done!

“Shop, Score, Pat” charges my batteries to pinball onward in a Family Circus kind of way.

Time at TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls gets my juices jingling! To me, these stores are reminiscent of the now defunct Filene’s Basement where thousands of wide eyed shoppers once raced to discover treasures unknown. Admittedly, I’m unsure if the joy is in the anticipation of plucking that perfect present at savvy savings or if it is merely the convergence of over-heated bodies levitating over sale tables.

Some years ago, Cabbage Patch dolls were in huge demand. It came down to the wire just before Christmas, and all I could envision were two weepy little girls at our house on Christmas morning without their #1 requested gift from Santa.

Alas, a notice appeared in the paper that Service Merchandise had received a shipment of dolls. They were poised to open at 7 a.m. My husband, a friend, and I schemed our doll attack, and within two seconds of the doors opening, our gleesome threesome was bobbing up for air from the smothering smoldering crowd of eager shoppers.

Arms waved Cabbage Patch dolls above heads screaming, “How about Milton Louis? Josephine Caffery?” Exhausted and relieved, I nodded approval to two selections, as the tsunami of shoppers receded.

Yet pressure to snag a sale or snitch the perfect doll catches me completely off track. I’m ashamed that I get so greedy that I even snare others into my web.

Luke 12:13-15 teaches me to “watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”

Those last two words are not about His possessions; it’s my possessions we’re talking about! Greed is destructive and contagious so I must guard against it because its innocence can lead to ever more dangerous behaviors.

In other words, by recalling 12: 13, 14, 15, I have a shield against temptation.

I need to give up the gift quest and translate my energy to a God honoring project, finding my satisfaction in fulfilling His intentions for me. Additionally, I must lasso the charge of vaulting over crowds of people and invest that energy in others emotionally, caring about that result far more than the momentary high of conquering the mall.

Every time I have a greedy urge, I’m just going to count: 12, 13, 14, 15.

Luke makes it so simple! I’m going to turn my fortitude to filling boxes for Samaritan’s Purse, sending a gift check to the Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, and volunteering with youth. I think this December I’ll even surprise myself by taking a more active role in feeding the hungry, and I’ll add intentional calmer introspective moments with Him.

Lois is a retired schoolteacher who loved her 31 years in the classroom. She and her husband Dave and have two married daughters, and love to show pictures of their first “grand,” Lilly B.    Phil. 4:19

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