Thursday, December 4, 2008

What I'm Giving up For Advent

Oh, you don't have to give anything up for Advent?

Well, I'm doing it anyway.

I'm giving up potato chips and french fries for advent.

You can hold me to it.

Perhaps you are wondering: what does this have to do with Advent? Is this some sort of hitherto unheard of new-agey "Advent Discipline"? How is it different from, or better than, say, keeping an advent calendar, lighting an advent wreath and saying a prayer, or making an advent chain?

I'll let you know.

In the meantime, I'm hoping that I won't be in another, even larger, dress size before January. I'm hoping that the cold weather won't want to make me obsessively eat even more calories than I am taking in right now. I'm hoping that I can stay even minimally active for the next month.

That's what advent is all about, isn't it? Hope.

Actually, besides these practical matters, here's what I'm thinking: I'm thinking about Christmas presents. And I'm thinking that I don't really NEED any presents, when you come right down to it. I have plenty of clothes, I have a lot of good books, I have a warm house, I have a nice dog, I have music, and I have shoes. I have a family and friends and meaningful employment. I don't really need anything. But (I'll be honest here) I do want presents. Or, to be even more honest, I want something that presents represent.

I think that the potato chips and the french fries are also kind of like that.

I'll be meditating on that for the next few weeks.

11 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Michael's family does an adult name drawing. I almost told the niece who has my name that I want a donation to Heifer International instead of a gift. But that sort of felt like a one-up-manship, so I gave her conventional suggestions when she asked. I gave up potato chips six months ago, but i guess I'm not ready to give up presents.

Diane said...

Ruth, I'm not ready to give up presents, either. But I am ready to starting thinking about what I REALLY need.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I'm not ready to give up presents either. I gave up alcohol this year because it's very bad for bone loss. That should count. I miss that nice sip of brandy on cold nights.

Kathryn said...

Me neither...as you so rightly say it's what they represent (though I'd be quite happy to give up the duty presents that seem to crowd in on one)
Having said which, I have completly failed to engage with any level of Christmas preparation so far, - so maybe I am inadvertently about to give up on everything except the church bits. Might be interesting....

FranIAm said...

Such thought provoking words.

And for me to think of giving up french fries and chips... Well I am inclined to join you.

Thank you Diane.

What do we really need?

Each other and God is a good place to start.

Jennifer said...

Wanting and needing...
you've put your finger right on it.

It's been a great discussion to have with our teenage children.

Interestingly, we're all feeling
saturated with things and are planning on gifts of time together as a family. That's huge, in my book.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

My husband has always been hard to shop for because he doesn't desire stuff. He really doesn't. So he'll get socks and things like that. But truly, we've gotten to the point in life where we don't even want new "toys" because we aren't using the old toys we once desired and received.

I'm longing for an America that isn't driven by shopping for more stuff that eventually goes to the thrift shop.

steve said...

Hope I'm not being a bit too contrarian here, but I'm a believer in presents. Not because of the kind of consumerism I think you're describing (which IS a concern and should be approached thoughtfully), but because by accepting presents we acknowledge our relationship and dependence upon the giver. Gifts connect us with each other in profound ways.

Diane said...

Nope, not a contrarian, Steve. Just thinking more and more about what the presents MEAN....

and the relationships behind the presents are important.

Choralgirl said...

Well, NOW you've got me thinking...

:-)

Lindy said...

Last year someone FINALLY gave me a present of sending some bird-type animals through Heifer International. I was surprised how happy it made me. Besides, you can't wrap the things I really want.