It’s Not Rocket Science

In my early post this morning, I wrote of simplicity in our lives, both as a spiritual discipline and as a priority, and I did this in a context of “getting ready for Christmas.” If you happened to have read it, you know that I ended it with a couple of questions, and I hope you had a chance to think about them. Now, a few final comments…

First, I must observe the fact that for most us, simplicity is the last thing on our minds at Christmas time, for the holiday season may be many things, but it is seldom simple in our time. Maybe the holiday season is or can be an experimental laboratory in which to learn simplicity. Maybe it’s a little late now, but what if we decided to make the season simpler? Any of us could do that if we wanted to. Here, let’s ask a question: What is the best part of Christmas?

If you are a child, your answer will be “getting presents!” That’s great, but this isn’t a blog for children, and you are an adult, so what is the best part of Christmas?

I’ll just guess that most of you will say things like spending time with friends and loved ones, warm memories of past Christmases involving loved ones who are gone now, or helping other people and that feeling of hope that the season sometimes brings…

Now, what is the part of the season that you like the least? For most, and certainly for me, the things we least like about the season are things like, the rush, the crush, the crowds, the stress, what we going to wear, what we’re going to eat or cook, what we’re going to buy, getting the cards addressed in time, the schedule of events, the hassles…

Now let’s think about how we can exercise some of the simplicity that Jesus taught us…

Do more of the things you like, and do less of the things you don’t like! Come on gang, this isn’t hard!

The things we like about the season, the family time, the special time with friends, the warmth, the connections and relationships are the things we are supposed to be doing all year long as Christians. The shopping, the hustle, the bustle and the spending and the impressing of others are the things Jesus is telling us to knock off in Matthew Six!

This isn’t rocket science.

But of course, we can’t do this because we won’t be living up to the expectations of others. If you are thinking along this line, please go back and read Matthew chapter six again.

When my kids were little, I made a big mistake, for I didn’t want to disappoint them at Christmas, so I saw to it that they got lots of gifts, sometimes gifts I couldn’t entirely afford, and I spent Christmas first by killing myself to get everything ready and done in time, and then with worry about the bills that would come in January. My kids had fun times, but I (with plenty of help from our culture) taught them to be shallow and materialistic, and so they are as adults.

I’d like a “do over” but there are no do overs in life.

I should have known better for a variety of reasons, but here is the best one: The best Christmas I ever had as a kid was the year that my Dad was out of work. We didn’t have much under the tree, but knowing the circumstances, I really appreciated what was there. All during the season, we came together as a family to make the holiday a good one; I’ll never forget that year.

Hmm…

The recipe was more of the parts we say are important and less of the ones we really don’t like: Simplicity. Yep, Jesus knew what He was talking about!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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2 Responses to It’s Not Rocket Science

  1. billclaxton says:

    One of the things my wife and I gave up years ago was sending Christmas cards. I love getting cards from other people. But when we started listing things that added more stress to an already stressful season, we decided that this was one thing we could live without. Sorry to anyone who was hoping for a card from me this year…….

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