Good morning everyone. I hope you had a great Sunday and you are ready to continue the fight today.
It is almost Christmas. I know that because I have four children who give me a reminder of the count down several times a day; "You know daddy there are only 5 more days to Christmas." With these reminders comes the nagging thought that I have not yet completed my Christmas shopping. Oh boy! So much to do and so little time in which to do it. I am sure you have completed all your shopping.
It is amazing though how much we do consume at Christmas. I was thinking about this fact the other day and realized that there are many people hoping that we do a lot of consuming because it is the only way they can feed their family. Often people like me preach against the commercialism of Christmas without giving much thought to how our economy is so dependent on our consumption of goods. In fact the message from our governments has been "Spend! Spend! Spend!" As if we needed to be prompted to fill our homes with more "stuff".
It is amazing how so much of our lives depends on the things that spoil, fade, rot and simply disappear with time. It seems like such a fragile system yet so many people place all their trust in it, looking for peace and happiness in it, expecting security from it. In the last couple of years we have seen just how fragile a system it is with one small part of it almost bringing down the entire world economy. The foundation of many people's lives were shaken and some were destroyed. They discovered there is no security in having money, spending money and possessing "stuff", yet here we are scurrying around in the malls looking to buy a little peace and joy for those we love.
Some of us possess something of far greater worth to share this Christmas than the "stuff" that will fade away. We have something to share that is not even our gift, is the gift from someone else, but we are free to share it. Obviously I am referring to Jesus. The reason this is important is because we will not get to take any of the "stuff" we are buying this Christmas with us so its priority should be pretty far down on the list for us. However, what we do get to take with us are people. If we really love our family and friends would we not want to share with them the greatest gift we ourselves have ever received? Would we not want to make sure we are taking them along with us?
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
Paul knew that it was not about building great cathedrals or establishing any great system or making a name for himself in any way. He knew that it was always about the people because for Jesus it was always about the people. Jesus is not going to admire anything we have done except for the results of our obedience to go and make disciples. As much as you enjoy that large screen television you won't get to keep it. However, your sons and daughters, your neighbours, your best friends, they can all come and that will please the Lord more than anything else you accomplish in your life.
This Christmas, let us return to the priorities of the Kingdom; let us put people ahead of everything else, no matter the cost. Let us celebrate Jesus by sharing him with those who need him, and like with all gifts, we will receive more joy in the giving this Christmas than in anything else we are given.