(From the blog series: “Treasuring Christ At Christmas“)
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Treasuring is a lost art. Our capacity to savor the fullness of any given moment, extraordinary or not, seems to have withered in our day. We’re left to chase after MORE experiences to compensate for our inability to chase after more IN our experiences. As preacher Matt Chandler has said, “Our generation is the most entertained in the history of the world! And yet we’re bored!”
Why is this?
It could have something to do with the death of a Princess:
In 1997, following the death of Princess Diana, a freshly kindled disdain was born in our hearts for the tabloids and their paparazzi. They had gone too far. Something poetic and beautiful, even noble, had been exploited, exhausted, and at last, extinguished in the ambitious pursuit of one more picture, one more dollar, one more cheap thrill for the masses. Our insatiable hunger for “more” helped turn a Princess, a fellow human, into a spectacle of amusement. In the end, the constant bombardment of cameras flashing; of reporters lurking, trying to capture her every move, proved to be too much. The paparazzi made it difficult for the Princess to enjoy the life she’d been given. And then, just like that, it was over.
What’s our connection?
You’d better buckle up for this…
Recently, on my Sabbath (day off) I awoke to what I like to call an HDD (High-Definition Day)! The sky was remarkably clear, with tremendous visibility, and the sun was glistening like a champ. It was the perfect day to take a drive along that ole familiar route across the lush green mountains of Northern Taiwan and then wind my way along the coast to my favorite beach.
Unfortunately, I only made it a third of the way up “my” mountain before I got the bright idea to shoot an award-winning “short film” with my new camera. My rationale was simple; the mountains were just too beautiful, and my experience was growing too rich…I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer! I had to share it! (Sound familiar anyone?) So, I queued up my CD player, hit record on my camera, and continued my winding (and swerving) ascent up the mountain; one hand on the wheel, one hand holding the camera; one eye on the road ahead, one eye on the camera, one eye on the rear view mirror (you do the math). The first “take” wasn’t very good, because I recorded more sky than mountain (blair-witch-esqe)! The second “take” was no good because my commentary was lame. I tried yet a third “take,” and before I realized it, I had grown completely distracted by my “short-film” and was no longer enjoying the mountains! By the time I came to my senses, it was too late! As I crested the mountain and descended towards the coast a dense fog greeted me, (as it wafted in from the sea) and, to my dismay, turned the sky dark and dreary in a matter of minutes. Sadly, in my effort to capture a pristine moment for others, I had missed it myself!
That’s when it hit me. WE HAVE BECOME OUR OWN PAPARAZZI!! We’ve fast become a culture both constrained and equipped to give a “play by play” account of virtually every move we make. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and our fancy iPhones nothing escapes us! We report the extraordinary and mundane alike, which is why you can check your facebook and read updates like, “I just shook hands with Michael Jordan!” or “I just saw a duck!” (And we get a picture of the duck!) Some of my awesome friends (You know who you are) even have entire facebook albums dedicated to food…a hundred plus pictures of delicious dinner plates! (I do love those pictures.) We report everything “on the minute”…from the movie we saw last night, to the lunch we had this afternoon, to the concert tickets we scored for next weekend; and you can bet we’ll be there with camera and iPhone in hand….we are paparazzi to our own exciting lives!
I hope you won’t misunderstand my point. I’m all for sharing, for tweeting, for posting on walls. There’s something good and right about inviting others to treasure the moments with us. In a very real sense, sharing is a part of treasuring. After all, we wouldn’t know all that Luke tells us about the birth and life of Christ our Savior if Mary hadn’t first treasured it up in her heart….and then shared that treasure with us!
But let me ask us; would it hurt if we occasionally went to the beach without our camera; or if we turned off our iPhone at the dinner table; or, I don’t know…what if we took a picture of our dinner plate AFTER the last bite, instead of BEFORE the first? I’m just asking…would it hurt?
This Christmas I want to challenge each of us; in our zeal to share those fleeting moments with others, may we not miss those moments ourselves! Let us re-learn the art of treasuring, and enlarge our own capacity to pause, ponder, and take pleasure in that which is truly praiseworthy.
In my next post, I want to invite us to put our newly inspired “treasuring” skills to “best use” in the worthy endeavor of “treasuring” the “unsearchable” riches of CHRIST.
Stay tuned for more of “Treasuring Christ At Christmas”…..THAT’s A WRAP!