It seems like we move straight from Halloween to Black Friday to Christmas. Little mention is made of Thanksgiving other than it is the precursor to Black Friday. Some call this holiday shopping frenzy “retail therapy” because shopping and buying things elevates the mood and makes us feel better. Merchants love retail therapy because for them it’s all about the money. Many merchants (as well as churches) depend on yearend sales (or giving) to finish the fiscal year in the black
Retail therapy and buying stuff (most of which we don’t need) cannot fill the hollow place in our hearts. Our hearts were made for God and nothing and no one else can fill the void. As Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
In 1993, the ministry of Promise Keepers was moving into high gear. With 52,000 men meeting at the U of Colorado stadium, the program featured such high powered speakers as Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, John Maxwell, Greg Laurie, and Gary Smalley. What stood out to me at that catalytic event was the giant jigsaw puzzle that Gary Smalley used to illustrate his talk. It pictured a man with a space where his heart should have been. Smalley tried to fit various puzzle pieces into the empty space: porn, alcohol, work, money, sports, but none fit. The only piece that fit the space was the Cross of Christ. He was right. Only Christ can satisfy the soul and until we find Jesus Christ to be our all-sufficiency, our hearts will stay restless, searching for someone, something to fill the emptiness we feel.
A word of caution, beware of trying to meet emotional needs with perishable things especially at this time of year. You cannot buy love with gifts.