Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Best Christmas Catalog Ever

Every year around Christmas time, we get a catalog from World Vision. We get a lot of other catalogs, but this one stands out. For one thing, the photography is really good. For another, the stuff they're selling is totally great.

See, this catalog isn't full of new TVs or cute sweaters or baby toys or new cars. It's full of things like this:


Sheep are known to "go astray", but they are always worth finding! For cold, hungry families, a sheep's wool provides soft, warm, and long-lasting clothes. Sheep often give birth to twins or triplets, which can be sold at the market. Your gift of a sheep provides comfort and warmth, extra money, and nourishment.

Eye Surgery

This gift, given in your name through World Vision, will provide surgery to correct congenital blindness or vision impairment for a boy or girl in need. Soon, the eyes of a child in a country like Romania or Azerbaijan will literally be opened to the beauty of God's creation.

Now I don't know about you, but I think this catalog is a work of genius. I mean, it's pretty and the writing is nice, but the real power in it is that it forces our imagined altruism to go head-to-head with our consumerism. Once we've read this catalog, we can no longer tithe our tithe and do what we want with the rest of our money.

Thinking of buying yourself a few hardcover books? Instead, you could feed a village for a year.

Thinking of buying yourself a new computer? Instead, you could shell out that dough and help your son ... I mean, somebody else's son ... see a tree or a mountain or a ball for the very first time.

And the damage to our consumerism just keeps coming. The pictures in the catalog stick in our heads. So each time we think about spending a dollar on the movies or on a new car or on a fancy recliner, we're forced to consider what else we could be doing with the money ... and now that else includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and ... dear God ... giving sight to the blind.

(You can find the entire catalog here.)


Kyle said...

Why is this sooooo frreeeaaaking hard?

Good post.

Matthew said...

Partly, I think it's hard because there's a lot of distance between us and the people who could really use our money. If the kids next door were starving, we'd have an easier time letting go of the dough.

Of course, it could just be hard because we love stuff.