Bristle blocks, Lalaloopsy, a magnetic dress-up game—one by one I stuffed them into plastic garbage bags, tied the handles and lugged my load to the garage. This was the annual pre-Christmas purge, when Momma Claus tears through every room and storage bin to sort outgrown toys, broken toys, toys the kids never played with much in the first place. One stash goes to charity, another to the trash. And the house is cleared for a sparkling new haul of happy toys come Christmas morning.
It’s a therapeutic process.
If only my children weren’t hoarders.
“Mom, why is Rainbow Bear in that garbage bag?” My six-year-old looked up at me and blinked.
“I’m giving him away. You don’t need Rainbow Bear anymore.”
“But I love Rainbow Bear!” Her voice raised two octaves, and panic welled in her eyes. “I want to keep him!”
“Sweetheart,” I reasoned, “you haven’t played with Rainbow Bear all year. He’s been packed away in the basement for at least six months and you never once asked for him.”
“Well that’s because I didn’t know he was down there!”
“Exactly my point, lovey dove. You didn’t miss him. You won’t miss him now. Besides, we need to make room for all the fancy new Christmas gifts you’ll be getting soon.”
“But Mom, I really want Rainbow Bear!”
“Okay, then on Christmas morning you can decide which one of your new gifts you want to take back to the store in order to keep Rainbow Bear instead.”
She scrunched her nose, wrinkled her eyebrows, and tucked her chin into her neck. “No. I don’t like that idea.”
“I don’t either,” I chuckled. “Trust me, okay? It’s time to let go of Rainbow Bear.”
Whoa. I should take my own advice.
I hoard stuff, too. Grudges, fears, bad habits, old dreams—things I’ve outgrown and don’t need anymore. They’re worn out, don’t fit, and I’m too smart for them now. Yet I struggle to toss them for good.
If my daughter could only see what’s waiting for her under the tree, I guarantee she’d cast Rainbow Bear into the charity bin herself. School desks for her American Girl dolls! The LEGO Friends café! Bitty Twins, people! Bitty. Twins. Eeeek!
And so it goes with my soul. God wants to bless me. He wants to bless you. But sometimes we have to release the old junk in order to make room for new gifts. Do I really want to hang onto those outgrown anxieties, those hurts, those plans that I realize now may not be the Lord’s best fit for me? Do I trust God enough to let go so he can replace my old stuff with something beautiful and new?
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” (Isaiah 43:18–19).
This Christmas, let’s give Jesus a birthday gift. Lay an old “toy” at his feet. Then just watch as he unwraps a better blessing in its place—worth a thousand Rainbow Bears and more.
Will you join me?
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