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Calling Out Consumerism

An Axis Course On Advent and Your Family

Just a couple of weeks left to finish all our Christmas shopping!

Did that get your heart racing? As much as fulfilling everyone’s Christmas dreams can stress us out as adults, our kids have their own holiday woes. No matter our families’ traditions and budgets, a lot of kids can’t help but anticipate getting everything on their (often wildly unrealistic) wish lists. Some kids seem to be naturally grateful—even for gift-wrapped bananas and avocados. But for others, when we don’t or can’t fulfill their dreams, there can be a lot of disappointment.

Sadly, much of this is a direct result of our culture’s emphasis on the next big thing. Even when we take steps to minimize or counteract the effects of unending advertising and wanton consumerism, the message that we’ll be happy if we can just have the next big thing seeps in everywhere. Influencer posts, billboards, YouTube commercials, magazine spreads, and even a friend who got the latest and greatest gaming console can all serve to bring attention to what we lack. So we’re constantly yearning for that next thing—sometimes even before enjoying what we just received.

Of course, that’s exactly the goal. If we stop purchasing, companies stop making money. And what’s the best way to convince someone to purchase? To make them want a product or service. More often than not, this means convincing them either that their happiness will increase once they have it or that it will go down if they don’t get it. The problem with this is that the happiness that comes from circumstances and possessions is fleeting— circumstances and possessions do not endure. As Don Draper from Mad Men so aptly put it, happiness is just “a moment before you need more happiness.”

Of course, we know that Christ is the answer, the only One who satisfies. But just telling our kids that often isn’t enough. What does that mean? How does He satisfy? He sure doesn’t feel fulfilling when He tells me I can’t do this or have that! Over the course of this week, we’ll cover some practical steps to take to help our families truly experience that reality this Christmas season, so that their joy may be complete and unwavering.

Action Steps

Sometime today, or as soon as you’re able, ask your family one or all of these questions:

  • When do you feel happy, or content?
  • Have you ever gotten something you really wanted and felt disappointed? Why do you think that is?
  • What is happiness? Is it different from joy? How so?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”?