I’ve been thinking about contentment lately. I’m supposed to lead a devotion in December at Cypress Christian School, and God has impressed upon me to talk about contentment. Kids love props, and so I plan on showing them some plate and cups that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and contrast them with the plates and cups we have now. ‘Cause the ones now are bigger.
And bigger is better, we think. Order a small coke at Jack-in-the-Box, and see what “small” has come to mean. Back in the day, “small” used to mean six to eight ounces of a nice carbonated beverage. “Small” these days could float Noah’s ark.
And especially at Christmas time, it’s hard to be content. If you have a seven-foot tree, chances are your neighbor’s going to come home dragging a nine-foot tree. If you put lights out on your shrubs, he’ll put lights on his roof, around his windows and lining his sidewalk.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have the perfect Christmas. Send out chatty letters with a nice photo of the family in front of the fireplace. Decorate just so. Bake treats for the teachers and neighbors. Purchase the perfect gifts without blowing the budget.
But I’m probably not alone in admitting that at Christmastime, I very rarely feel content. I usually have the nagging feeling that no matter what I do, it’s not enough. And I’m not keeping up. More to add to the list of Things My Children Will Talk to a Therapist About Someday.
Even on Christmas Day, one of the holiest days of the year, I don’t feel content. After the presents have been opened, and we’ve enjoyed the meal, and told the Christmas story, everyone goes off to rest or relax. And I am alone, with a chance to breathe, for the first time, it feels like, since Thanksgiving. And as I search my soul, I tend to feel let down, disappointed. Like I’m missing something. Not from any inadequacy of the gifts I received, but in how I celebrated the season. Too busy. Too stressed.
The Apostle Paul says in the New Testament that he learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. So, the solution to discontentment is not obvious if it’s a secret. Perhaps the secret to contentment is keeping my mind stayed on Jesus. The Bible says God will keep me in perfect peace if I keep my mind set on God.
Easy to say. Tough to do.
Written By: Terri Welch,
Cypress UMC Media Department