You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17
Christmas, and the days following, were magical in my house. All our visiting and traveling took place before the twenty-fifth. So, as the snow fell on Christmas morning, there was nowhere to go, and no have-to’s on the list. Alleluia!!!
For days, we stayed in pajamas, lounged around, watched movies, read books, and played games. Like I said, it was magical.
But all good things come to an end. When we finally ventured out, and reconnected with the world, comparison crept in.
Despite my kids being completely happy with their Christmas presents before, hearing what their friends got had them wishing they’d put different items on their wish lists. Despite me laboring over our Advent and Christmas plans, and feeling like I’d finally gotten my priorities straight, hearing how other people spent theirs had me wishing I’d done things differently. What’s that about?
It’s about comparison killing joy. Unfortunately, it’s the human condition to want to keep up with the Jones, have what the Smiths have, and be who the Millers are. That’s what led Adam and Eve to take a bite of the apple, and, consequently, fall from grace.
God knew we needed help in this department. His answer was to give us not one, but two commandments about it. Don’t want the spouse your neighbor has; don’t want any of the things your neighbor has. When we do, we’re not honoring what we have; and we’re not being grateful for it.
Happiness comes from things, and is temporary. Joy comes from the recognition of, and deep gratitude for, all the ways we have been blessed.
I once heard it said that if we think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, we haven’t been watering our own lawn. Gratitude is both water and fertilizer. It not only keeps the grass alive, but it helps it flourish. Without it, things get scorched by the intense rays of comparison and jealousy.
It’s time for us to reclaim our joy. My kids got wonderful presents, and our break was filled with lots of quality time together. We need to remind ourselves of that, and give heartfelt thanks for it. Doing so will rejuvenate the grass on our side of the fence, making it green and lush.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I fall victim to the comparison game?
* What happens when I do?
* What can I do to water the grass in my own yard?