A weekend in December has come and gone and of course, I spent some of it in a shopping centre. ‘Tis par for the course at this time of year. As I drove into the local shopping centre I encountered the usual message on the boom gate, “A place to reclaim yourself”.
Now, I think this is nonsense all year round and a completely ludicrous claim come December.
How anyone could think that searching for a parking space, weaving through other shoppers at a Covid-safe distance, being unable to find half the things we were looking for and realising we’d forgotten the grocery shopping list just as we step into the supermarket is reclaiming oneself… I don’t know.
Personally I think when we go back home after shopping is the time to potentially reclaim oneself.
“A place to reclaim yourself”
Reclaim: verb gerund or present participle: reclaiming
1.retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of.
If you’ve read C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe you’ll remember that Edmund sides with the White Witch when he firsts enters Narnia. She declares him a traitor when he then sides with the lion, Aslan.
This is an allegory for the message of Christianity, in which humanity (Edmund) originally did belong to God but decided to ignore him and wander off into the clutches of Satan (the witch). However, God cannot just reclaim us without the bargain or purchase being made properly, which C.S. Lewis – once a fierce atheist, then a Christian – understood completely.
In the novel, Aslan is sacrificed at the Stone Table in order to reclaim Edmund. This symbolises the death of Christ at Easter.
Reclaiming: the ongoing action of retrieving or recoverin something.
God’s reclaiming of humanity begins at the first Christmas and finds its fulfilment in the first Easter.
Jesus was born into the world to eventually sacrifice himself for us. Jesus came because God wanted to reclaim us. He wanted to buy back what used to be His. And the cost was not cheap.
So perhaps a shopping centre having a sign saying that it is a place to reclaim yourself is not so far-fetched after all. Reclaiming requires a purchase or bargain to be made. Personally, I’m good with a bargain.
However, I believe the best bargain of all was the deal God made that stretched out for about 33 years from Christmas to Easter.
So this Christmas, if you’re looking for somewhere to go to reclaim yourself, perhaps don’t go to your local shopping centre: even if you can get a bargain there, such as the $10 watch I picked up.
It’ll probably have stopped ticking by Friday…
This is just one reason why I think journeying in your heart and mind to the manger instead, is a far better way to reclaim yourself this December.
God spent his own son for you. That’s how much you’re worth.
Yours in suddenly wanting to read The Chronicles of Narnia all over again,