A Montgomery Ward catalog stirred memories: When I was a girl, it was a Big Day when a catalog arrived in the mail. And these catalogs were nothing like the skinny 84-page one I just received. They were mammoth books, 2.5 to 3 inches thick. Living in the country with little access to shops, the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs came Spring and Fall and showed me the latest little girl dresses and coats.
My sisters drooled over the latest fashions. My mother longed for nifty appliances. My brothers and father? I don’t remember them ever noticing the books. But the women of the family poured over the pages, yearning and dreaming. We called these catalogs “wish books.”
Then at the end of November or the beginning of December (Christmas shopping started later in those days) came the toy catalog. Now I really got excited. I loved dolls. Every year I wanted a new doll. And my favorites were the baby dolls. “Oh, please, Santa, bring me a doll that drinks and wets. I will be such a good mother.”
Catalogs today are a dime a dozen. I send many to recycling without ever cracking the cover. Prices have gone up, and I’ve found the best way to avoid temptation is simply not to look. Besides that, I need much less. Clothes don’t wear out. My home doesn’t need one more doo-dad. Catalogs just don’t ooze magic for me like they once did.
I hope I never feel that jaded about opening the Bible. I remember how fascinating the Bible was to me when as a young adult I dedicated my life to Christ. I went to my pastor time after time asking about this passage and that passage. I wanted to understand how it all fit together. Instead of looking for the latest fashions, I wanted to find how passages applied to my latest life, the life that included a husband and kids, the life that included changes and challenges.
Of course, I still read my Bible. Every day. Without fail. But am I as excited? Am I as curious? Since I dedicated my life to Christ sitting by the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, contemplating if my life was really honoring the Lord, the season holds special memories for me. But much as I love the lights and the Christmas shows, I want to revel in the real meaning of Christmas, the fact that Christ left heaven to come to earth where he would face earthy, sinful people, people who think far more about things we see in shops and catalogs than about Him. And then He died--so we could go to heaven. It boggles my mind.
It’s sometimes hard to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. We show Christ’s love for others as we shop, so we shop. We show God’s hospitality as we welcome families around the table, so we cook. It’s all good. But let’s remember to show our love for God by worshipping with other Christians, by donating to God’s people in need and by examining our hearts to see if we’ve really forgiven and forgotten. Those are the greatest gifts of all. And they aren’t found in catalogs.
Have a Blessed Christmas!
Upcoming engagements for Friends of the Heart:
December 2. 10 a.m. - Women's Christmas Brunch, New Buffalo, CMA, "Mary: Ordinary or Extraordinary."
February 1, 6 p.m. - David's Community Bible Church, Millersburg, "An Evening with Mary, Martha and Their Psychologist."