Stuff. We all have it. Make no mistake about it, our houses, cars, rooms, cupboards and even purses are filled with it. Things you once loved or didn't, now stuffed in a closet, behind a chair, under a bed or overhead in the attic. If you were to make a list of all the stuff you have in boxes, stacked in the garage, or tossed beneath a cabinet, you couldn't. Forgotten stuff, used only for a time, not to be remembered again.
Stuff holds us in bondage. It keeps us from moving forward, from focusing on the present. And, at times, it overwhelms us. Yet, each Christmas I want more of it. I check the ads searching for it. Not only do I want more stuff, I want to give stuff to my husband and children too.
My teenage daughter recently told me a story her college professor shared with her class. It helped me see “stuff” in a much different way.
As the students filed into the college class for their final exam, they were greeted by their teacher. He was standing beside a table of archaic looking items. As each curious student came forward, their professor explained the odd -looking objects, and then proceeded to try and sell them to his students.
“This here is an 8-track player. I'll sell it to you for $100.00.”
“Are you kidding? Those are obsolete. No one uses 8-track players anymore.” The student smirked.
“Well, how about this transistor radio? I'll give you a deal...$40.00.”
Another student peered over the table and laughed at his teacher. “That transistor radio is a dinosaur. And it only gets AM!”
“Ok, then how about this TV?” The professor waved his arm towards the gargantuan television, towering over the table.“I'll give you a bargain...$500.00.”
A chorus of students roared with laughter. “Is this a joke? I bet that TV weighs 500lbs!” The students crouched down to get a better look. “Are those dials for changing the channels? Cmon' professor!” Their laughter had them doubled over by now.
As they chuckled and giggled, their teacher calmly shared, “Not long ago, men and women... some of them your own mothers and fathers, worked long hours to bring this “stuff” home to their family. Time taken away from their loved ones was used instead to bring a couple smiles, and a few light moments to those they cared about. Not much has changed today. People are working harder and longer to give those they love “stuff”. When what matters, what really counts is time. And in time, even your newest and neatest toy will become archaic, odd and obsolete.”
The teacher looked at around his classroom. The laughter had stopped.
This Christmas, take a moment, ask the Lord to help you discover something your husband and children can't tuck away to be forgotten in a box or on a shelf. Take a walk together. Make cookies together. Share a cup of cocoa together. Cuddle on the couch together. Play a game together. Love on one another and laugh together. Memories should be the “stuff” we tuck away in our hearts this holiday season.
Dear Lord, Lead us to us to gather memories not dust-collectors.