How many “favorite toys” on Christmas morning are still in daily (or regular) use by your children?
How many of these (new) favorite toys are broken?
Was new debt incurred to purchase toys, clothes, etc. for Christmas?
If so, how much debt is paid off from overextending yourself to purchase these (new) favorite toys?
Was additional debt incurred (or payments put off) while paying for this past “Christmas”?
Should we get something more significant from the Christmas Season besides debt and "new favorite toys" that will be replaced in next years cycle of consumerism?
Our culture is quite successful in making consumers of us. If you doubt this, then why do advertisements work? If you doubt they do, then why do companies pay millions of dollars for seconds during the Super Bowl? I realize you may not be as caught up in the consumerism of our culture as the next Joe/Jane...
However, the success of our culture in making consumers of us can be seen when gifts are given. As my beautiful wife Melissa and I were discussing recently; who has not seen a small child enamored with either the paper or the box used to give a new gift? Who has not seen a well meaning parent, sibling, relative, or gift-giver take away the paper or box and basically say, “No no, here, play with this (expensive) toy I have bought for you; isn't it great?!?!” Why do we do this? Are we not content with letting a child find enjoyment in something that is less than our ideal for them? Do we have to justify giving the gift?
In light of this, and in light of how we are now half a year removed from the Christmas Season, I wonder if God ever looks at us and basically wonders/says, "No no, quit playing with the cheap toys of this world yearn for true treasures I have made available to you!!!" What would the true treasures be? Well, an abiding and growing relationship with Him, which He so clearly showed us He wants through the miracle of the Incarnation (the Christmas Season), is certainly an aspect of it.
Keep in mind, some of our brothers and sisters in Christ celebrate the “birth” of John the Baptist on June 25th. While it may sound a bit odd, it is a great concept. After all, the "birth" of the forerunner to the Messiah reminds us this world is not right. This world is not how God desires it to be. Proof of this reality is seen when we reflect on how God sent His Messiah into the world to reestablish His Kingdom...which will culminate in God re-creating everything “new”.
Yet we need to remember, John the Baptist himself did not fully understand Jesus (cf. Mt11:1-19). Therefore it would behoove us to humbly admit we need to be ever growing in our awareness of Jesus' Identity. The miracle of and the implications of the Incarnation certainly help us. If only we could put away the cheap toys and imitations of fulfillment this world puts forth as worth our time...