White Elephant

Today I purchased a White Elephant gift for the Christmas party at work. We will all eat some food and exchange useless stuff. For my part, I tried to put some thought into my gift. It is more of a care package which includes a “No Trespassing or Hunting” sign, some tree air fresheners, wall hooks, a pocket-size calendar with a yellow bird on the front, and Mentos. I know someone will be moved to receive this gift.

But there was a part of me that struggled to spend the $6.00 on all these items because most of them will likely get thrown away.

As I was thinking about this, I read a verse from Luke where Jesus said we should not store up treasures on earth because our heart will follow. And then when those treasures are stolen or chewed by moths or eaten by rust, our heart will feel robbed and torn and consumed.

And then I realized that all of the stuff I buy will one day get thrown away. The whole economy is in some ways a big White Elephant gift exchange. This is not to say we shouldn’t ever buy things. I am simply wondering if it wouldn’t be better to view those things with the same detachment someone will view the yellow bird calendar.

That way our hearts won’t burn up when all of our stuff does.

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