It is an interesting dichotomy to be in both a purging mode as I free myself from unnecessary material things and in an acquisition mode as I shop for Christmas. It makes me think before I buy. Am I just adding bulk to the pile of Christmas presents, or will this gift really be appreciated and used? My gift-giving seems a bit down-sized this year, but perhaps it is because this year's experiences emphasized how life's treasures are the intangibles like faith, family, love, and health. No diamond has ever brought as much joy as the sparkle of my son and his wife as newlyweds. Nothing warms my home like the presence of my children. No technological wonder brings me to my knees in awe the way holding my first grandchild did. No spa treatment can make me feel as rejuvenated as I did when learning that my husband's cancer responded to treatment. Nothing guides me through darkness like faith and prayer.
My Advent reading yesterday followed this theme. From G.K. Chesterton:
The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more 0f them if you have less appreciation of them.
From St. Paul:
I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)