This is the final post on gift registries, at least for now. Thank you all for your input and help as I think through these things. It's so helpful to have your feedback as Mom and I work on writing about some of these subjects.
In regards to the poll question about including registry info in the wedding invitation, I thought my mom had a great idea. She suggested couples could determine who they think would want the information, and who would not think it appropriate, and include it only in the invitations where it would serve people. In this way you are thinking of the guests, not just the gifts.
This brings me to the post for today. In recent years retailers have realized the jackpot they have in wedding registries. You now have the option in many stores to do a registry completion after your wedding, meaning you get a discount on all the items left on your registry. Because of this I've seen couples register for whole bedroom suits or even paper towels and toilet paper. I mean, if you can get a 20% discount on those items, why would you pass that up?
I think the balance for this is another one that is difficult to determine. It's practical to want to save money on things you need, but it can also be a little offensive for a guest to look up your registry and feel expected to buy you a new bed or large TV.
In the end I think the heart of the matter is to what do we give more worth--the gift or the giver? Is it more important that we get what we want, or that our guests know they are loved and appreciated, no matter if they bring a gift at all? Now, we have already discussed the fact that you can't please everyone, and that shouldn't be the focus. But we see in Scripture the example of Christ as a servant and as we, through the Holy Spirit, become more Christ-like we see the value of serving people as being greater than the value of receiving things.
This is a temptation even in our walk with God the Father. We see He gives us great gifts, but do we value and worship the gifts over the Giver? Am I more thankful for the beautiful trees, or for the Creator of those trees?
I struggle with this most days, either complaining about what I don't have, or being too attached to what I do have. Yet in the light of eternity, this struggle just seems silly, honestly.
Last week Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, tweeted a few quotes from C.S. Lewis' book The Problem of Pain. I think this section is extremely helpful in thinking through our possessions and material comforts, and I hope it helps couples as they consider setting up their home together.
The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world; but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe [sic] or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
May we crave God more than His gifts, praise Him for the refreshment He gives, but long more for our true Home.