I just read a Facebook message from a friend lamenting the way our cultural focus has shifted.  The holiday season seems to be all about shopping, getting more, beating people out for a deal/gift/toy.

What ever happened to the most wonderful time of the year?

If I am honest, the Christmas season too often brings out a less-than-beautiful side to my own personality.  Not that I will be found pushing and shoving on Friday morning (or Thursday afternoon) for any toy or gift.  In fact, I will be happy to stay far away from that craziness.  But … there are the “wants” that creep into my thoughts and heart.  The “why can’t we keep up with the Joneses.”  Thoughts of “if I could only have X, Y, and Z, then I would be happy.”

Last week, all three members of my little family had the flu.  We dropped over $200 for copays and medicine in just a few short days.

But I am grateful for the insurance that covered the rest.

I am a stay-at-home-mom and wife of an associate minister in western Kentucky.  By American standards, we are not wealthy.

But I am grateful that my husband has a job.

I am grateful that I can stay at home with my two-year-old.

I am grateful that I have a two-year-old who needs me at home with him.

At times, I am frustrated because we do not have the “latest and greatest” of whatever.

But I am grateful that we have a home, two cars that run, and can live within our means.

I am grateful that I can buy groceries and other necessities for my family.

As our culture turns our focus away from the things that really matter – faith, family, friends, non-material blessings – I find it more and more challenging to be counter-cultural.

My prayer for myself this Thanksgiving and Christmas season is for God to change my heart and turn my focus more on all the blessings that He has given me in Christ.  To make me less like the world (and less interested in the things of the world), and more like Him.  To give me a heart for those who do not have the blessings that I do, and to become more interested in sharing what I have with others than in getting more for myself.

Maybe you would like to be counter-cultural this year too?