Most Christmas seasons feature a few must-have toys or accessories of the year, reliably featured on network morning news shows and paid social media promotions. But this year’s big holiday shopping story has been anxiety about supply chains and prices and whether we’ll get all the things we want in time to unwrap them on December 25.
As Christians, we know we shouldn’t let our desires hold us so tightly. I regularly drop things my family has outgrown into the drive-up collection bins at Goodwill, pulling away each time with the words I shall not want echoing in my head. And yet as soon as the donation center sign is in my rearview mirror, I resume this habit of buying stuff I don’t really need.
My head gets clear again in the moments when I focus more on the first part of that line from Psalm 23:1: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” This clear-headedness is like the first day home after a camping trip or after a visit to a far-away place.
I have all I need. And it’s with me wherever I go.
I think of what Wendell Berry describes as the “joy of sales resistance” every time I close an online shopping tab, deciding I will do without the things I’ve placed in my cart. When the season of sales and stress presses upon us, resistance takes effort. But the substance of our true hope endures and helps us through.
Hope, though, takes practice. I keep on forgetting to let go of all manner of things. I am sentimental about old baby shoes, jeans I keep pretending I will wear someday, and time-saving kitchen gadgets that actually just take up space and time. How can we free ourselves from the things that possess us and instead strengthen our ability to hope?
We can practice contentedness and ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more