They ate till they were gorged— he had given them what they craved.
There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
The sparrows that moved into the neighborhood in recent weeks number in the dozens. Since their arrival, my favorite songbird, the little house wren living in our veggie patch, has flown the coop. In fact, they’ve driven out several of my sweet bird friends.
From sunup to sundown, they gorge themselves at my feeder. Every spot filled with little brown birds. And they’re not much into sharing, either. At least not with birds of other varieties. My cardinals and chickadees must make do with the leftovers they scatter on the ground below.
I’ve gone to some lengths to scare them off. I’ve even trained our dog to chase them off. But, they just toy with her now…they’re not in the least bit frightened by the sight of her.
I’ve taken the feeder down for a several days, only to discover them back in droves once it goes back up again.
The feeding frenzy happening in my backyard reminds me a lot of the frenzy to come. You know the one. It occurs every year around the holidays.
The time when folks camp outside of stores all night long hoping to be the first to grab all those door-buster deals. The time when tempers are short and lines are long. The time when we conveniently forget about calories so we can gobble down goodies without guilt.
That time of year when we human beings begin to look, and act, a lot like my sparrows.
To most Americans the holidays mean overindulgence.
A time when we loosen our belts. Eat too much. Drink too much. Buy too much.
I came across this quote awhile back…
Holiday binge-buying has deep roots in American culture: department stores have been associating turkey gluttony with its spending equivalent since they began sponsoring Thanksgiving Day parades in the early 20th century.
Turkey gluttony. Binge-buying. Call it what you may. We Americans are good at extravagance…
“The Christmas tree, twinkling with lights, had a mountain of gifts piled up beneath it, like offerings to the great god of excess.”
Now, I love eating Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings as much as anyone. And I cannot wait for all the Christmas cookies and treats. I also love shopping and gift-giving. I even like wading elbow-to-elbow in that mass of humanity on Black Friday.
But, is that all there is to the holiday season? A flurry of spending and eating?
"Consider Christmas — could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft (the means of acquiring gain) plus bunkum (sheer nonsense) than the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks die of exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the Western world is made ill from overeating — all in the name of the lowly Jesus?"
When all the wrapping paper has been torn off and the Christmas presents are scattered about the house, we find that it wasn’t the gifts or the abundance of food that brings true and lasting joy.
True and lasting joy is found not in the glitter and gluttony, but, because…
God so loved this world that he sent his son…
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
“…and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
This sweet season only comes around once a year. May we not get caught up in the frenzy and flurry, the gorging and glitter that the rest of humanity does. May we instead…
"Look to the Wise Men to teach us where to focus our attention. To set our sights on things above, where God is. Drawing closer to Jesus...
Then when our Advent journey ends, and we reach the place where Jesus resides in Bethlehem, may we, like the Wise Men, fall on our knees and adore him as our true and only King."