Yesterday, we had our Christmas dinner with family. We loaded up our gifts and I took my two pies, and we made our way to where we were having dinner. When we arrived there, on the television in the family room, was a fireplace. On the t.v. The whole program was a fire burning.
It wasn't a forest fire, or someone's house burning down. No, it was a rather festive, holiday fire in someone's fireplace, complete with background music and the occasional rustling of logs from a poker-bearing hand. This kind of programming was available on not only one channel, but a few. The channel was even turned to a "better fire," i.e. this one had "crackling" sounds, bigger logs and seemed to burn a bit brighter.
I could not believe that we were all sitting in front of the television watching this. It was quite odd.
Later on, after we were home and I recounted the events of the day, and thought about all the gifts that were purchased, exchanged and enjoyed, I thought about how very dependent we are on technology for even the Yule Log.
Of course, I would find it very difficult to live without technology. I love writing on my blog, having the convenience of e-mail, having an iPod, and instant messaging. It's all quite nice. But in all of this wonder, I see very clearly that this can all distract us from life. It can keep us from relating to each other by causing us to be holed up in front of our screens, and it can keep us from taking care of our responsibilities. I am just as guilty of this as anyone, and it's something I want to correct.
Human being tend to be creatures of extremes; we either abandon our little toys completely, or we embrace them entirely. It's hard to strike the balance, but I think we must try. There are only 24 hours in the day; how many of those are spent with our concentration on anything else but our Lord? Obviously, we have times when we must focus on school or work, or other duties. But what about when the down time comes? When we have an hour of free time, what do we do with it? Do we waste it? If there is a choice between a video game and the Word of God, what do we do?
I just finished Respectable Sins last night. The last chapter was about worldliness. Bridges talked a little about idolatry, about how we let the things of the world be substitutes for our worship. I think one of the biggest dangers is the internet. That's not a profound statement, I know. But it's true. And I'm not just talking about the really overt evils like pornography. I'm talking about how it can consume our time to the point where it is more important that we check our e-mail first thing in the morning than it is for us to sit before the throne of grace in prayer to our God. We have to pray for self-control, for balance, for commitment.
I'm planning on working on this myself. As I look around at my family and my home, I see that my attention needs to be directed away from the computer for longer periods of time. Life happens around us, not just on the computer screen.