“Hey Kyle’s, what do you think of this one?”
The butterscotch coloured jacket had caught my eye as we walked past the Jeanery, drawing me over to the rack as effectively as an angler reeling in the catch of the day.
It was perfect. The imitation suede just begged to be stroked and the faux fur collar immediately conjured up thoughts of snuggly nights in front of an open fireplace.
“Oh Mum, I can’t believe it!” Kylie squealed with delight. “That’s the EXACT same one that Matt and I saw last week at the Plaza. But I never thought I’d ever be able to have it.”
Looking at the original price tag, I could understand why Kylie had placed the little coat in the “dream” basket. But today was apparently her “lucky” day and the dream was about to become a reality.
For a start, we were actually out that morning with the express purpose of buying a warm coat or jacket for her to take to the “Best is Better” youth camp that night. It was being held in Canberra and the minute I heard that they were forecasting snow in our National Capital, I knew my daughter had to have something way more substantial than her wardrobe currently contained.
Then there was the fact that I hate shopping and don’t waste a lot of time on the experience, if at all possible. Once I see what I like, that’s it - catch it, bag it and take it home!
And I liked that jacket!
Finally, there was the added bonus that this deliciously perfect piece of apparel had been marked down. Not just by $10. Not even by $20. In fact, even if you guessed $50, you’d still be short. It had been reduced by the grand sum of $60, which took it out of the probably unattainable and placed it firmly within our grasp.
I just knew that our search was nearing an end; and a few minutes later when Kylie stepped out of the changing room it was a done deal.
She looked beautiful, with her long, brown hair cascading like a waterfall of silk over the faux fur trim and down the butterscotch suede to her waist.
“Like it?” I asked, already knowing what her answer would be.
“Love it!” She replied, with a pirouette for punctuation.
“Great! We’ll take it!”
With that, I headed to the sales desk as thoughts of home flooded happily through my mind. As far as I was concerned, there was no greater shopping satisfaction than being able to find what you’re looking for as soon as you start to look for it.
Waiting contentedly with our “prize” while the sales lady served the customer before me, I casually gazed around the little shop.
That was when I did a double take, closely followed by a triple and then a quadruple!
Perhaps it had been the euphoria of finding exactly what we wanted when we first walked in the door that had caused my momentary case of tunnel vision. One thing was for sure, up until that second I certainly hadn’t noticed the state of the other garments that filled rack after rack of the store.
“They’ve got to be kidding!” I blurted in amazement to the woman behind the counter. “Call me a fuddy duddy, but who on earth decided that this was fashion?”
At that moment, Kylie wandered over and saw what had caught my attention.
“It’s ‘in’ Mum,” she patiently explained. “They call it vintage fashion.”
“Vintage?” I snorted. “More like stone age!”
By then I was shaking my head in disbelief and chuckling at the insanity that was the fashion industry. Virtually every pair of jeans in the shop looked exactly as though they’d just been dragged through the mud or worn by a chain gang.
When I commented on that fact, Kylie went on to explain.
“Well, technically that’s what they do. I read it on a label when I was looking for jeans last week. They get sand and rub it into the material so that it gives the old, worn look.”
Then as an afterthought, she added, “That’s why it’s just so hard to find a decent pair of jeans these days.”
As we walked out of the Jeanery, I was still trying to come to terms with the craziness of anyone paying good money for something new to look decrepit and dirty. Although I had no illusions about the eccentricities of the ever-changing fashion industry, this just seemed to be taking it all too far.
It was about then that Christ’s words came and appropriately took centre stage in my thoughts:
The contrast of mixing old and new in a physical sense was obvious, but the deeper spiritual significance was a powerful reminder for my Christian walk.
In both the illustrations Jesus used, he was announcing the arrival of a brand new era, which would be totally incompatible with the one that had existed before. Although we know that the new era Christ introduced involved many differences to that of the old, it’s perhaps summed up best of all as being the new era of God’s magnificent grace toward mankind.
As Christian men and women, we can rejoice in the fact that the old rags of our previous life have been removed and destroyed. In their place, we’ve been clothed with the spotless garment of grace, which was purchased for us by the precious and priceless blood of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.
However, just as crazy as it is for anyone to take a brand new garment and make it look old, worn and dirty, the same is true for us whenever we take this “garment” of new life, and make it appear like the rags of our past.
Basically, we do this in two ways. One is when we continue unrepentantly in behaviour which we’re well aware is wrong in God’s eyes. The other is to cover the garment of God’s grace with the robes of self-righteousness and legalism. Either way, we’re exchanging the old for the new, and the spotless for the filthy. Either way, we’re dishonouring the Lord and what He’s done for us, as well as presenting to the world a false representation of our life in Christ.
From a fashion point of view, it may be true that right here and now, everything new is trendily old again. But praise God that in Christ, everything old, faded, tired, worn and filthy about our lives has been made gloriously and wonderfully brand new!
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