And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Pastor Mark Buchanan lives with his wife and three children in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He’s also the author of a book, Thinks Unseen, whose goal is to help you to be of more earthly good by becoming more heavenly minded. And he points out how we all continually live for the “Next Thing”—the next item on our checklist that gets us excited.
He says this can become so obsessive “that we lose the capacity to enjoy and to be thankful for what we have right now.” It’s a message that is particularly poignant during this Christmas season. Pastor Buchanan writes:
I saw this close-up … when my children first got to that age when the essence of Christmas becomes The Day of Getting. There were mounds of gifts beneath our tree, and our son led the way in that favorite childhood (and, more subtly, adult) game, How Many Are for Me? But the telling moment came Christmas morning when the gifts were handed out. The children ripped through them, shredding and scattering the wrappings like jungle plants before a well-wielded machete.
Each gift was beautiful: an intricately laced dress Grandma Christie had sewn, an exquisitely detailed model car Uncle Bob had found at a specialty store on Robson Street in Vancouver, a finely bound and gorgeously illustrated collection of children’s classics Aunt Leslie had sent. The children looked at each gift briefly, their interest quickly fading, and then put it aside to move on to the Next Thing. When the ransacking was finished, my son, standing amid a tumultuous sea of boxes and bright crumpled paper and exotic trappings, asked plaintively, “Is this all there is?”
Using this all-too-familiar Christmas scene, Buchanan shows how we too often forget to treasure and to savor. As he says, “The pressure of constant wanting dissipates all gratitude.” It’s true, isn’t it? That’s why savoring and treasuring are so vital during this holy week when we celebrate Christmas together.
By the way, Buchanan makes an important and somewhat surprising point here. He states that God made us this way. God gave us this yearning and hunger to find the “next thing.” It’s a restlessness and a yearning that he says is healthy and God-given. The issue is not the wanting that tarnishes the season. It’s the unbridled wanting that’s misplaced, that’s set on the wrong thing, that leads to disappointment. As we said, his message is to help us become more heavenly minded to be of more earthly good.
Reflect and Respond
What What can you do, in specific terms, to ensure your Christmas celebration this year allows you to “savor and treasure”?
Go ahead, tell us in the comments.