A Guide for Gift Buying (and Happiness) at Christmas

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Guideline #1

  • “During the 1980’s the Irish had half the incomes and purchasing power of the West Germans. Yet year after year [according to national polls], the Irish were happier.”
  • “People on Forbes’s list of wealthiest Americans reported only slightly greater happiness than other Americans; 37% were less happy than the average American.”
  • “Compared to 1957, we have twice as many cars per person; we have microwave ovens, color TV’s, VCRs, air conditioners, answering machines, and $12 billion a year worth of brand name athletic shoes . . . [Nevertheless] in 1957, 35 % of Americans told the National Opinion Research Center they were ‘very happy.’ In 1991, with doubled American affluence, 31% said the same. To judge by soaring rates of depression, the quintupling of the violent crime since 1960, the doubling of the divorce rate, the slight decline in marital happiness among the marital survivors, and the tripling of the teen suicide rate, we are richer and unhappier. How can we avoid the shocking conclusion: Economic growth in affluent countries gives little boost to human morale.”

(These three quotes are from Christianity Today, November 23, 1992, p. 24)

Guideline #2

Richard Wurmbrand tells the story of a family among millions in Sudan where the Muslim majority want to impose Islam on the Christians. Some Christian parents said to their small child, “We will be deported for our faith and will die of starvation if we maintain it, but do not mind. We will be crowned martyrs in heaven.” Then this child went to other children and gave them his “toys.” (He had never had what we call a toy, but simply a ball of rags on a stick which he “rode” like a horse.) He said, “I do not need these any more. In heaven I will have toys better than these.”

Guideline #3

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Proverbs 15:17

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. Proverbs 16:8

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:19

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is perverse in his ways. Proverbs 28:6

Happy is he who is kind to the poor. Proverbs 14:21

Happy is he who trusts in the LORD. Proverbs 16:20

Seeking happiness and simplicity,

Pastor John