It’s hard to believe, but I have been in Buffalo for nine years now. It’s the longest I’ve lived in one city since leaving for college in 1995. Prior to moving here in November 2005, I had lived in Texas for 5 years, then 1.5 years in Cleveland. It effectively meant that we moved twice in under two years.
What I’ve learned about myself through the moving process then and twice since we got to Buffalo is that I have too much stuff. Having kids brought us even more stuff, forcing us to evaluate how much stuff we really need. It was time to start bringing in less, and removing more.
The crazy thing about this process was that the less stuff we purchased—and the more stuff we gave away—the more content we were. Whether we intended it to be this way or not, the stuff was distracting us from the really important things in life.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. Philippians 3:8-9
Christmas is a time filled with “stuff.” There’s “stuff” to buy for people, “stuff” we have to do to get ready for Christmas, “stuff” we have to participate in like school concerts or work functions. Too many people are too busy—in their finances, schedules, whatever.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of those gifts and commitments are good and a blessing to you and others. But some of it probably isn’t. This Advent, don’t let “stuff” get in the way of what’s truly important—knowing Jesus. Figure out where your “stuff” is distracting you from that, and join with Paul in considering it “rubbish.” Then get rid of those things that you might gain Christ.