You’ve Got Something In Your Nose

November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is kind of an ironic holiday.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Thanksgiving.  It’s great to be with family and spend the day together.  I love food too, so that’s good.

It’s just that Thanksgiving, this day where we say “I have enough,” now kicks off a month long orgy of ravenous consumerism where we scurry around saying, “I don’t have enough!”

A month is barely enough time for our shopping, as some black Friday sales begin at midnight on Thanksgiving.  The conflict between the spirit of Thanksgiving and the spirit of black Friday is amazing.

So before we get our day of thanks over with and start our month of “I want,” I’ve got a few thoughts.

Miracles are so cliche

I don’t usually share with you what I talk about on Sunday mornings.  But I will today.  You might know how God provided the manna for the Israelites in the desert.  That manna was pretty miraculous stuff.  I’d imagine the people were pretty blown away by magic food appearing on the ground each morning (even though it was extremely perishable.)  The Israelites were mumbling and grumbling that the didn’t have anything to eat, so God comes through.  Bam, miracle food, suckas!

But later on, maybe a few months later, the people were mumbling and grumbling again.  They were sick of the manna.  Everything they ate tasted like manna.  They wanted meat.

So what does God do?  He answers them.  He tells them they won’t just have meat for a day, or a week, but a whole month, until it “comes out of their noses,” and they hate the meat.

God’s a pretty smart deity.  He knows human nature pretty well.

Eventually I will throw away every Christmas gift

It’s kind of funny.  When that manna showed up, the Israelites couldn’t have been happier.  But after a few days, the novelty wore off.  Then, collecting the manna became burdensome.  The miracle of the manna became ordinary, a cliche even.  They didn’t care anymore.  They weren’t thankful anymore.  Soon, they began to wish they had something else.  And before long, they hated the miraculous manna.  They couldn’t stand it.  They wanted something else.  More than anything else, they want meat.

God knows that He can give the people meat.  He can give them what they want more than anything else.  And for a few days, everyone will be happy.  Then, the novelty of the meat will wear off.  The meat will become ordinary, a cliche.  And soon enough, the people will grow tired of it.  And before a month is over, God is wagering the people will hate what they wanted more than anything else just a few weeks before.

Some things haven’t changed, even in a few thousand years.

Right now, we have thousands of sweet toys and gadgets and shiny things being peddled to us that promise to make us happy.  And I’m all about giving gifts, don’t get me wrong.  But a few days after Christmas, these things that we want so bad will lose their novelty.  Eventually, we will take them for granted.  Then, we will wish for something new, maybe even begin to hate our once beloved possessions.  And one day, every Christmas gift that is purchased this season will be thrown away with all the other trash.

Stuff coming out of our noses

I feel like God has given us what we’ve wanted.  He’s told us we can have anything we want.  There is no limit.  Whatever things we think will make us happy, we can have, all in assorted colors and flavors.

And we have all these things in such quantity, they’re coming out our noses.  Our lives are no less complex, or more liesurely.  We don’t have more time, or energy, or youth, or happiness despite all the promises.  What we want so badly never satisfies us.  We always want something else.

This year, I’m still going to give gifts, because I enjoy it.  But when you take all of the things away that are temporary, and will be thrown away, what do I have to be thankful for?  The people I love, and the God who loves me.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.  I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from the blog, but I’ll see you next Monday. 

What about you?  Start Thanksgiving week by sharing what you’re most thankful for this year.

24 responses to You’ve Got Something In Your Nose

  1. I am most thankful that out of our abundance we are able to regularly support two Compassion children; a girlfriend with a music ministry; our (now ex) Pastor’s family as they prepare and go over to Malawi to live for 2 years; Mphatso Childrens Foundation in Malawi that provides nursery schools and meals to nearly 1000 children; a group that provides education to streetkids in Sudan and whatever else God puts on our hearts.

  2. Great thoughts as we begin this season, Matt.

    I always wonder why we try to stuff all our gratitude into one day while stuffing ourselves with too much food.

  3. I’m really thankful to God about my health. I’ve been cancer free and in remission for 5 years now. I’m also thankful to God for my wife and 2 children.

    I’m also thankful for big league chew.
    Jonathan Chang recently posted..Ferocity and Tenacity

  4. The whole Christmas thing is infectious with a 7-year-old. We’ve had Christmas songs playing in our house since Saturday. Part of it is sort of cute.

    My wife is busiest in her pet sitting business on holidays, so we jam in a meal between midday dog-walks and evening feedings.

    I am certainly grateful that we are working, but the idea of stuff is starting to wear on me. In fact we are working on a major downsizing for our family. It is a little scary, but we know that God is in it.

    Currently we are subsizing a poor family… they seem grateful most of the time and that makes us happy.

    I am most thankful for an amazing wife, 4 healthy kids who are basically doing OK in life. I am also thankful for my relationship with Jesus; how he speaks to me. Some days it’s a little surreal. Of course, if I look around, I know folks that are very ill, out of work, in the midst of divorce, have wayward kids, not to mention folks all around that world that are poor, hungry and persecuted.

    Personally, I have been working on thanksgiving every day. I have a friend that posts 3 things that he is grateful for on Facebook every day – it’s inspiring.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Matt.
    David recently posted..Faith vs Belief – And the Winner Is

  5. It’s just that Thanksgiving, this day where we say “I have enough,” now kicks off a month long orgy of ravenous consumerism where we scurry around saying, “I don’t have enough!”

    That’s a great line. I am grateful that I have more than enough. Way more than enough. Not to sound ungrateful, but I really wish well meaning family members would stop buying me stuff and give what they would spend on me to a worthy charity. My crap closet is getting pretty full of stuff I’ll never use. I guess it’s time to make a trip or two to the local charity.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Matt.
    katdish recently posted..Without us guys by Billy Coffey repost

  6. I love this post. I’m at that point where I can’t stand the thought of spending Christmas opening gifts – I just want to spend Christmas with the people I love the most in all of the world, enjoying one another’s company before it’s time to go back to our lives. A lot of bloggers did thanksgiving posts all this month but maybe the thanksgiving posts should start Thanksgiving day and lead up to Christmas.
    Margaret @ Single and Sane recently posted..Royal Wedding!

  7. I am thankful for my husband and my kids, who daily demonstrate God’s love and forgiveness and give me the chance to practice the same. I am also thankful that, in the last year especially, He has always provided exactly what I have needed at exactly the right time.

  8. I’m thankful for my old gi joe toys.
    jay Sauser recently posted..…my 90s music monday…

  9. Thankful for the baby on the way, and that we get to go to the Lions game for Thanksgiving . I’ll be even more thankful if we aren’t beaten too badly!
    mo recently posted..169- Broccoli in the Cheese

  10. Happy Thanksgiving, Matt!

    I’m thankful that this year I’ll be home to cook on my own stove and in my own oven. This year I am having a virtual Thanksgiving where all of the lonely and hurting, even those who are usually happy can join (Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on twitter, my public fb account, email, and my blog). I invite all to come and share what they are thankful for and help to bolster those who are alone this Thanksgiving.
    Nikole Hahn recently posted..Book Excerpt- Fatherless Boys

  11. We just turned in our church’s Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes (114 this year!), and no matter how I explained it to him, my almost 4-yr-old just couldn’t understand why we weren’t putting a shoe box under _OUR_ tree (even though our tree isn’t even up yet and most of our Christmas decorations are in another state). Sigh…one day he’ll “get” it. I hope. We’re definitely in the year of “I want” with him. I hope it ends soon!

    I am so grateful for the abundance that God has blessed us with, and that from that abundance we’re able to bless others. My prayer for my family is that someday our giving to others will need to be sacrificial on our part and that through those circumstances we’ll grow closer to God and closer as a family.

    But mostly God just blesses us wildly, so it’s almost hard to give stuff away fast enough.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

  12. Great observation on the juxtaposition of “I have enough” to “I don’t have enough.”

    I had a little plaque on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager:
    “As a rule, man’s a fool,
    When it’s hot he wants it cool.
    When it’s cool he wants it hot
    Always wanting what is not.”
    vanilla recently posted..Thanksgiving!

  13. Yeah, it’s almost like we need to turn our t.v.’s off during the months of November and December in order to focus on what’s really important. Giving gifts is cool, but there’s way more to the whole Christmas thing than that. Let’s make this Christmas one that lasts.
    Alex Marestaing recently posted..focus

  14. Hi Matt,
    Curious isn’t it that I place more value on things I don’t have than on things I do?

  15. next time you step into LPS to possibly interview I won’t be sitting at my desk,taking a leap into……well you call it retirement at my age. Hubs and I are stepping out in faith to try living w/less and having more time for the relationships and ministries that intrigue me. Knowing this to be a Christmas where we possibly give less monetarily and yet more time wise. We are thinking this is a good thing as we will need HIM all the more. So just wanted to say THANKS for the great timely thots here and wish you good luck.
    becky recently posted..Matthew 14-16

  16. I’m thankful for a day off to be able to just spend with my husband resting. We normally have a simple meal. For a bunch of years now we avoid black friday and look for some opportunities around the holidays to share and make a difference to some families who are struggling. It really helps keep things in perspective.
    Linda B. recently posted..What I Think About Late at Night…

  17. I’m thankful that my health insurance covers my wife’s insulin and syringes for a reasonable co-pay. I’m thankful that our pet rats are healthy.

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