Saturday, December 19, 2009


May be I am turning out to be a scrooge, but I grow weary of Christmas commercials during this time of year. The message we receive is that buying that perfect gift will make everything right. In particular, it appears that jewelry creates a one-way path to good relationships.  My thought is, may be if you thought about her and made sacrifices during the other 364 days of the year, you would not have to jeopardize your financial future for a relationship-saving piece of jewelry.

Right now I am reading “Predictably Irrational” by MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely. In this book, he tells a story about a guy who harvested black pearls from an East Asian island. Unfortunately, he was unable to sell them to anyone on the island; no one thought they were valuable. Eventually, someone put them in the window of a swanky New York department store with a high price tag. Only then did they become extremely valuable and start showing up on the streets. Ariely says that these pearls show how often products are given arbitrary value. If they would have made their debut on a Wal-Mart rack, the story may have been different.

In I Corinthians 10, Paul told the Corinthians twice to flee from idolatry (which is the worship of created things). He says that these “valuable” items are nothing. Instead, Paul wrote that Christians should seek the good of others and the glory of God.

I am not trying to say that everyone should stop giving each other gifts for Christmas. I think it is a good practice that reminds us what it is to give. I am merely saying that real value comes from the relationships God has given us. Thinking a perfect gift will repair a relationship or make us whole is wishful thinking.

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