Friday, December 23, 2011
Robbing ourselves of joy
Ashley Campbell recently wrote a blog about losing her joy in the midst of Christmas giving. Her story is one that many of us can relate to during the busyness of the season.
Along with her narrative, Ashley posted beautiful photos of a storybook about St. Nicholas that was written by VOM’s Editor-in-Chief, Cheryl Odden (click here for more information about this book).
St. Nicholas lived a life marked by giving and sharing with those in need. Giving gave him joy. Does giving produce the same result in us?
Below are excerpts of the text and images from Ashley’s blog. I hope that during this hectic season you will joyfully give of your time and talents in thankfulness for the gift of God’s Son!
This week Chris met the kids and I at Walmart after school. Our church is one of the host sites for Toys for Tots and we were armed with a list of some of the biggest toys needs. I told each of the boys they could pick out x-number of gifts for another boy their age. I wanted them to have fun, to be excited to give, to enjoy the adventure of it all.
The boys were so excited. Their voices were a bit louder than normal. They would pick up a toy and then set it down to look at another. They wanted to dart from aisle to aisle in search of the perfect gifts for boys that may only receive one present this Christmas. A few times they were in the center of the aisle and didn’t move out a stranger’s way quite fast enough.
Basically, I wanted to contain all their excitement and just get the job done. When we checked out, I looked at Chris and told him, “Next year I am just doing this by myself.”
We got to the church. Completely stressed and frazzled, I wanted to just unload it myself and go home. Each of the kids wanted to help unload and carry bags inside. They laughed. They ran, They carried bags bigger than they are….they relished the act of giving. My thoughts were on the spectacle we were at Walmart.
The next morning, I read Ann Voskamp’s words, “Only self can kill joy. I’m the one doing this to me.”
Instead of relishing and etching the memory of their joy filled faces in my mind, I chose to focus on the grumpy faces of strangers.
Instead of being in a life changing moment with my kids, I was wanting to change the moment.
Instead of delighting in a shopping spree of fun, I couldn’t get to the check out line fast enough.
I did it to myself.
I missed out.