Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wrapping Ourselves for Christmas?


This afternoon, Hannah and I had the opportunity to take advantage of a local theater's FREE Children's fall film festival. We went to see "Kit Kittredge" for the first time and I was not disappointed. Abigail Breslin plays "Kit", a spunky, bright, young girl that is stuck in the midst of the Depression and learns the hard realities as her family deals with the struggling economy. Besides being a really well done movie full of actors like Joan Cusack and Chris O'Donnell, it was a movie that had me fighting back tears as I watched the characters struggle with the realities so many are facing today. In one of the opening scenes, a family is kicked out of their home and a foreclosure sign sits hauntingly in the front yard. Later on, Kit finds a dog on the street with a homemade sign around it neck that says something like "Please take me, my owner can't feed me".

It used to be that bankruptcy and foreclosure were dishonorable and shameful and now it has almost become exceptable. It made me wonder how close we really are to that dark time in history, when we have "tent" communities being set up in states because so many people are without a home and job loss is a hard reality to so many. One temporary solution in the film for Kit's family, was to open their home to "borders". In a day and age when we don't know the neighbor across the street, I wonder how we would cope with strangers in our bedrooms, on our couches and eating from our table? Honestly, I don't think its a bad idea.

The idea to "share what you have and stretch what you don't" is very foreign to most of us. Even as Christmas looms ahead, our families on both sides will be cutting back and in some cases eliminating gifts all together. We'd rather spend "time" over spending "money" and I know the sacrifice will be worth it. Maybe we can somehow get back to the basics where we live life together again and the act of giving love or service far outweighs a neatly wrapped package with a bow. I admit that I want to give my kids wonderful things under the tree this year, but more and more I realize that if I don't find a way to teach them the simple lessons that the broken economy has presented us, they may grow up and never know what it truly means to live with less.

I had a conversation with Hannah, just yesterday, and had to explain to her the changes this year. She really wanted an ipod Nano and was told she would have to earn half of the money in order to receive one. When she decided there was an immediate object that she was anxious to spend part of her money on, I explained that she would have to ask one of her grandparents to help with paying for the ipod because she would not have enough saved. I told her that would mean that she might only get one present this year. She was tearful as she struggled with her decision and I was tearful knowing that I wanted to give her everything but couldn't. In the end, she did spend a portion of her saved allowance, but she seemed to be content with the smaller number of gifts that lay in store for her.

I'm not sure where this leads me. Maybe to another round of questions and considerations, but I really want to experience Christmas much differently this year. My heart is heavy but it is also hopeful that we can really live out love in a new way as we give people what they really need. Each other. I'm just not sure what that looks like yet.

3 Comments:

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Elle Bee said...

Christmas has become such a consumer's holiday. Jon and I are looking to reclaim it. Good luck to you as well

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Amanda Onorati said...

Kim i loved reading this post because it is so true. I hope most families can just get back to the basic's.

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Jeff Greathouse said...

I really want to get 3-4 christian families and buy a large house and for us to live in community ...

I am not sure which direction to go. Your post has brought that back to me ...

Combining resources and helping each other out ...

 

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