Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trimming the Christmas Cactus

Rarely do we suffer the 3 hour plane ride to Phoenix from St. Louis, hometown to both hubby and myself. But family obligations require it, and so we schlep our kids luggage to the airport and go through the rigmarole to get us from here to there, little ones in tow.

When I'm home, I want to move home. I ask myself why I feel that way. The answer is pretty obvious: Phoenix is a consumer's paradise! And a darn convenient place to live, if you can afford it (we can't). After two years not visiting, I am amazed at the sheer growth of homes, skyrocketing housing prices, and shopping venues to suit every need and taste, all nearly a stone's throw away from anywhere you should stand in the Valley of the Sun. Sigh, I didn't know comfortable my life was until I moved away. :)

So what? I want to move home to be one of the millions of consumers of these bountiful commercial goods and services? I am so tempted. However, the yellow lights of caution tell me that a consumer's lifestyle is what has always contributed to the resistance to a Christianized culture here. Left and right, everywhere you go, evangelical churches are being built to house thousands of attenders. The signs of faith are everywhere, yet nowhere. Phoenix has always been, and remains, a culturally secular place (a far cry from St. Louis, where everyone and their brother is Roman Catholic).

I miss Phoenix, yet having been away for seven+ years, I barely recognize it. My heart goes out to this city, a beautiful, thriving, and woefully distracted city where Christmas is a commercial holiday more than an observance of Christ.

As you reflect on your hometown culture, please remember mine in prayers as well as your own. Merry Christmas!

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