Last night my husband gathered the kids into the kitchen where I was making a supper of pancakes.  He had Reid get out a paper and pencil and said “We are going Christmas shopping for you tomorrow.  What do you want for Christmas?”  Ah, the question I hear every year…and so often I don’t know what to say.  You see, I have an amazing husband that is great at teaching our kids things like giving mom a gift a Christmas.  That is an important thing.  So,I thought and thought.   Some years there is that “thing” that I really want…and sometimes even need.  But this one was one of those years I couldn’t come up with anything besides…black socks.  “Oh come on mom, there has to be something!”  I looked at them and said “I have a wonderful husband and three amazing kids.  What more do I need?”  It may sound like a “picture perfect answer”…but it’s true!  We are all serving the Lord together in a church and community we love.  We love and adore  the people we work with on The Edge staff and the people who are part of our Edge Family. I have the best “job” in the world being a mom, wife and college pastor at WSU. We have a house that is warm and more than enough for us.  Oh sure, I sometimes cringe at the 80’s floral drapes in my dining room (I think I had a dress made out of the same material in college) and I’d love one of those cool high top tables for my kitchen, but I do not NEED one thing!  I can honestly say….I am COMPLETELY content with what I have. 

Today I went to the local Hy-vee grocery store so Reid could continue the process of beginning the job he just obtained there. I decided to “pick up a few things”.  As I was shopping and older gentleman, whom I later found out was named Joe something or another-“ski” (lots of Polish people in Winona) , started to talk to me about ham prices.  He then told me the per pound price of ham all over town. Joe must have been a little lonely because he talked straight for at least 20 minutes.  I found our many interesting things about Joe.  He recently had knee surgery so he liked to go to Hy-vee to putter around and get exercise.  He recently got pork steaks for 49 cents a pound.  He served as a baker in the army in Korea.  One day in Korea when he was hauling around a gun with huge ammunition he realized he really didn’t want to be doing that.  He went by a posting board and saw there was an opening for a baker.  He applied, was accepted, and went to baking school for 6 weeks.  The night he came back he had his first assignment.  He had to make and bake and frost 1500 cinnamon rolls by 8 am the next morning.  He and his new crew under him of 9 men worked from 10 PM-8 AM…but the rolls were ready.  He then talked about 380 sugar cookies he had made the day before with his wife of many years and his daughter.  A few times while he was talking I thought “I should get going”…but it was as if the Lord said “Why?  Do you have anything that pressing to do? Can you be Me to this man for a few minutes?  Be content to just stand here and LISTEN to my faithful son, who fought for your freedom and is overlooked by so many.”.  Thank you Lord, I am going to be content to do that.  And I was.  I settled into the conversation…and thoroughly enjoyed it. Contentment.

When I got home I pulled into the garage and thought “Oh great, now I have to unload all of these groceries”.  As I sat in the drivers seat I suddenly felt silly.  Was I ACTUALLY going to complain about unloading food for my family?  I also knew that part of the reason it may be a pain is because in a couple  areas I would have to rearrange things so I could fit the newly purchased food in with the food we already had.  I thought of the families that didn’t have enough food.  The mothers that would humbly visit a food shelf this day.  Lord, forgive me, I am SO content to put away all of the $63 worth of groceries I am about to haul in my house. Contentment. 

Contentment is beautiful thing.  I was blessed to be raised by a mother that I see, as I look back, always displayed contentment.  Oh, she wasn’t perfect, but I can never remember her wishing for more.  We lived on a small (by today’s standards) 50-60 cow dairy farm.  It was a lot of work to grow up on a farm….but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I learned so much about servanthood, work ethic and contentment. My mom was a great example of living within her means and making every dollar stretch.  She was also a great example of servanthood.  She always took a huge dish (or two or three) to church fellowship dinners. She always served as a Sunday school teacher or superintendent. She and my dad were at every church work day and usually helped provide food.  My parents provided milk and often butter for the pastors that lived in the parsonage across the road from our family farm.  They “did” a lot of things…but the thing that stuck with me is the contentment.  It may have seemed a humble life to many, even in our small farming community of Pillager, but they were happy and displayed….contentment. 

Mothers have a HUGE influence in this area. I believe if a mother displays and learns to be truly content with what God has given her it will always trickle down to her children.  I believe it needs to be displayed by both parents, but the mother has an especially huge influence in this area of contentment.  

So during this season of giving and wanting and excess and debt…ask yourself “Am I content?”  “What do I REALLY NEED?”  “Do I NEED a new definition of “Need” in my life?  “Am I letting the needs and wants and standards of OTHERS determine my contentment?” 

Lord, I pray that we all learn to live in a place of contentment…cuz it’s a beautiful place to live.