The Rev. Joe Bowden: Take time to declutter life to allow Christ in

What do you give your wife for your wedding anniversary? Perhaps the best gift is remembering the event! Once you’ve done that, “the gift” becomes a source of some anxiety.

 

Here is what I did this past weekend as my bride and I celebrated that special moment. I had “gift block,” so it came to me that perhaps the best thing I could do was to declutter my wife’s study.

 

Now please be aware that the clutter in her study was 99 percent mine. Cissy is a very organized and neat person, “Everything has a place and everything in its place” is her mantra. I am not quite in her league – thank God “opposites attract!”

I had already over cluttered my study upstairs and had slowly moved into Cissy’s downstairs space over the past few years. I knew that was OK with her – it was much more convenient for me – she loves me very much.

So I began my decluttering mission Friday night and worked throughout the weekend. By Sunday evening, suffering from “decluttering fatigue” I realized that the job was not nearly done and I was the victim of a more serious problem – “clutter addiction!”

As one declutters one space it quickly becomes obvious that clutter is everywhere, and like a jack-in-the box the question jumps at you – “How did this happen?” There is no real answer.

In our “Stuff Culture” it just happens, but it can be hazardous to your health.

As I took a few breaks from my decluttering, I checked my text messages and emails and Googled a few topics.

I Googled the words “clutter” and “declutter” – yes, not a surprise that there are hundreds and maybe thousands of sites addressing this serious problem in our lives.

I read a number of reliable articles, which offered significant insights such as: “Mess causes stress.” “If you are not taking care of the clutter in your home, you may not be taking care of yourself.” “Clutter is anything you’re keeping around your house that doesn’t add value to your life.” “Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.”

This last sentence hit me hard – “Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.”

Something happened when I read those words, I saw the word “heart” instead of home, and the lines from Philippians jumped into my head, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Out of the blue I had run into the real meaning of Christmas! God in Christ incarnate, emptied, yes “decluttered” divinity for humanity. In that emptying something wonderful happened – God became human and humanity clearly saw God.

So, is Christmas a time of cluttering our lives with all kinds of stuff, or is it a time of decluttering our lives of all kinds of stuff?

I asked a question, but offer you no answer. I do know this, if the inn is full there is no room for the child about to be born.

THE REV. JOE BOWDEN IS THE PRIEST IN CHARGE AT ST. AUGUSTINE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.

 

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