This time of year it is often the advertisements that cause me to stop and say, “Really?” This morning it was a Macy’s ad in the New York Times. A full page ad featuring an attractive woman reaching towards an stack of wrapped boxes as tall as she was with a single word across the page. Believe. For those of us who do our best to hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, the ad presents us with a stark choice. Believe…but in what.
Macy’s, and other retailers, would have us believe that happiness, joy, love, fulfillment come in beautiful boxes beautifully wrapped bought at their stores. Those of us on the faith side of the equation would beg to differ. But, before I am accused of being Scrooge let me say that I love Christmas. I love picking our or making a gift to give to those whom I love. I even enjoy sitting down with my wife and my checkbook and thinking about year end contributions that we would like to make to those organizations that work tirelessly to provide for the most vulnerable. But, I chose to believe in something more.
We cannot buy what we most long for.
It does not come in a box tied up with a bow.
For those of us who stand in the Christian tradition we believe that joy, peace, happiness, fulfillment have something to do with that which we know and name as God. And something to do with the wisdom and teachings of Jesus who did his best to point us in the direction of the grand Dream of God where all have enough and all have a place and where Peace on Earth is more than a Christmas card greeting.