I’ve asked a cross-section of Anchorage pastors to comment upon Advent as an Antidote for Acquisitiveness or Consumerism. Our next pastor featured is Pastor Brent Williams of True North Church.
If we learn anything from our culture during the Christmas season, it is that marketers are brilliant and know how to remind you that your life is not fulfilled and they have what you need to be satisfied. Right? Have you seen the car commercials? There’s a big red bow on the new SUV with a husband who is dressed for success. His perfect wife runs out and jumps into his arms while the kids sit nicely on the edge of the lawn doing algebra homework. The advertisements are conditioning us to believe that there is actually something that will fulfill the deepest longings of our life. Interestingly enough, they are correct. At times, all of us experience discontentment. We all want more. No one as a child dreams of spending his or her days in a cubicle, with no daylight for six months in four degree Anchorage weather. No, he or she probably wanted to be a cowboy or princess.
The consumer culture is also partially right when it comes to the satisfying nature of stuff. It feels good to acquire new stuff or finally receive that long wished-for item. Remember when you purchased that new car? You didn’t roll down the windows because you didn’t want the new car smell to leave. You said, “I’m finally going to keep this one clean,” and 80,000 miles later, the new car is no longer satisfying and the newer model looks so sweet. Yes, there is satisfaction when we get what we want, but the problem is that temporary things eventually give way to wanting more. Eventually, we all get bored. This lie works because there is a hole of eternity in the heart of every man. The lie works because we do believe that there is more to be had and we are hungry for it.
Ecclesiastes 3 says that God has put eternity into the hearts of men and women. At the core is the longing to be fulfilled, a desperate need for purpose and meaning. The beauty of Advent is that God solves the problem. God steps into our framework. He enters our world as a humble baby – born in a manager to two unlikely parents. God reminds us that he has not left us wanting more but instead fills our life with that which never leaves us desiring or needing more. Jesus becomes the answer to the hole of eternity in the heart of humanity. Advent is the promise of God that he will fulfill the deepest longing of every human heart – the true antidote to consumerism. How unthinkable are the ways of God? God’s answer to the world’s problem is a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manager. The answer cannot be purchased by money, good works, or behavioral change. It is a gift from God received by faith to those whom God loves.[img_assist|nid=163067|title=Pastor Brent Williams, True North Church|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=350]