I was just sitting here this morning reading through the Scriptures, just minding my own business, and where do you think God took me?
We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim. 6:7-10
Why, when I was reading this, did I think first of this holiday season? Christmas for the Christian is a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. A life of great importance, a sacrifice beyond any we have ever encountered, for a purpose many simply don’t understand. “Why would Jesus Christ come to earth in the flesh to die on the cross and pay the price for our sins?” “I am hardly worth the trouble.” (An entire topic for another conversation) Believe it or not, understand it or not, it happened! How then, I ask you, does this stern warning regarding the love of money bring up thoughts of Christmas?
I think it all plays into the issue of idolatry. What have we chosen to worship in lieu of offering our praise and worship to the messenger of our salvation? It’s sad to say that at this holiday season the priorities of people become abundantly clear. I have found myself guilty of stacking the Christmas wish list with little goodies that feed my flesh and NOT my spirit.
We get so caught up in buying the best and most expensive presents for others simply for the accolades that we will get when they open it. Our present has to the best because you know it reflects on us (and we get to rub other’s faces in it). This is the time of year that we get to gorge ourselves on all the things that we wouldn’t think of touching the rest of the year. All care is abandoned to the wind. We skimp on our tithe to purchase things for ourselves (“they are on sale!”) because we don’t have the patience to wait to see if we get it for Christmas. Perhaps we cease giving all together because traditionally we so overspend that we don’t have the money to make ends meet and our church giving is the first to be sacrificed. In honor of the birth of our savior we summarily dismiss discipline and many of the things that Jesus preached against in his lifetime.
This is the season when churches, charities and other organizations are most hit with the needs of others. I want to encourage you, eat out a few less times, reduce the amount spent on gifts, don’t spoil the children with incredible excesses. Ask yourself, “Could I impact the life of another on the amount that I am going to spend on this (fill in the blank)?” During the holiday season most churches take a big hit in their tithing and yes, the bills still need to be paid. If you’re asking, “What has my church done for me?” I would first say, God will forgive you your selfishness. and secondly, if you can say that you’ve never received from your church, I’m not just talking money, perhaps you need to find another church. On the whole, I don’t believe that to be the case.
All of these things, they are not the reason for our Christmas celebration.
You can still have a fun and sane Christmas holiday. Watch your budget, stay out of your savings, except Christmas Clubs. Don’t buy to impress others, impress God with your discipline. Gift-give modestly and within your means and share your love abundantly!
Most importantly, focus on the meaning of Christmas. If you’ve forgotten, grab the family and pop-in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Little Linus has got it right…out of the mouths of babes?
God bless you and have a joyous Christmas Holiday!
Eric A. Disney
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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