Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things, Things, Wonderful Things?

Yesterday afternoon I was able to have a nice afternoon at home with David and Micah. David was doing the dishes while I watched Oprah (and tried to calm a crying Micah, then swept and vaccuumed). All of her guests were told they were watching a show about meditation, and then were surprised to find out that this episode was actually an "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode. In case you're unfamiliar with The Oprah Show, "Favorite Things" episodes are ones where all of the audience members are given gifts that Oprah loves.

Now Oprah is known for giving back, so these weren't just ordinary people. These audience members were those who helped others: people who had moved to Africa to help locals there, who were nurses that saved babies and children on a daily basis, and others who were considered selfless.

The reaction of the guests is what you would expect: craziness! Men were jumping up and down screaming in the aisles. Women were bawling instanly. One man was kneeling down (crying and rocking back and forth) in the space in front of his seat with his hands clasped, shouting what looked like, "Thank you, Lord!"

So, she starts the giveaway. Each audience member is getting a $3000 diamond watch, a $400 cashmere sweater and blanket set, a brand new DSLR camera (which, I have to say I've been wanting lately...), a tote bag with matching shoes, kitchenware, candles, hair products. It went on and on. And I enjoyed watching it.

David came in half way through and gave me a good reminder as I sat there thinking, "I wish I had that. I wish I had tickets to the Oprah Show. I wonder if I can get tickets to Monday's show." (Yes, I know it's already taped...) And he said, "Oh boy, things."

Things. Why do I need things and want them so badly. From the reactions of those in the audience, and me as well, you would think that the gifts they were given were going to make their lives incredibly better... and maybe for a week, maybe a few months, they will. But things break. They fade. Clothes go out of style and get worn out. You go on a cruise and it's over. They're fleeting.

I thought about this as I watched the second half of the show, including a concert by the Black-Eyed Peas (more about that in a minute), and I felt sad. The Bible gives us warnings about things of this world:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)
"The words of the Teacher,a son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 NIV)
The first quote is spoken by Jesus, in the sermon on the mount. Our treasure is in Heaven, and yet we search so vigilantly here on earth for treasures to satisfy our hearts. To make us happy and to make us feel fulfilled.

The second is by King Solomon, the richest man who ever lived. (Check out 1 Kings 4.) He had everything he could ever want on the Earth, and yet he said it was all meaningless. The book of Ecclesiastes is focused on the vanity and meaninglessness of the things we find on this Earth.

So why do I (and others all around us) keep looking for these fleeting pleasures instead of seeking out Christ.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)
There is so much that is better, but it's found in Christ.

Okay, now about the Black Eyed Peas... they sang "Time of My Life," which (though I'm not really a fan of theirs) I enjoyed. Then they sang parts of "The Little Drummer Boy:"
"Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum, A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum, Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum, To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, When we come."
All I want to say about this is that they sang it well, but this song is about bringing gifts to Christ! It's not about the things that we get from Oprah, or even the gifts we give to others. Christmas is about Christ!


  1. What a thoughtful post, Tricia--thanks for the good reminder. It's easy to slip back into wanting "things", but they don't satisfy.

  2. David is a man of few but powerful words.
    What a great post and such a good reminder to help us keep our focus during the Christmas Season.

  3. Wow Tricia, you hit the nail on the head! I watched it too, and I'm sure it would be overwhelming to get all that stuff given to you, but you're absolutely right about the temporal value. (I had the same thoughts about the "Drummer Boy" song - they really missed the point, as most "Christmas" shows do - it's all about Christ)Thanks for wise words.