As I waited for Sunday morning services to start at church one crispy December morning a few years back, I took a quick glance at the sermon flyer and found the first verse of the morning. I guess I was trying to get a jump start on the morning so I opened my Bible to the chapter and held the place with the bulletin. Little did I know this particular Sunday, God must have had a different sermon planned for me because instead of placing my bulletin in Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 I put my bulletin in Ephesians 5.
When it came time for the Pastor to make his point from Ecclesiastes, God gave me a little something extra from Ephesians chapter 5. As the Pastor started reading, I started to follow him, or so I thought. I turned to my place and picked up the reading verse 8 and continued through verse 11.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
After the Pastor finished reading from Ecclesiastes, he made a comment about trying not being seduced by the “stuff” that we are bombarded with during the Christmas season. Have you ever felt that way? Seduced by “all things commercial” at Christmas? Sometimes I can feel the stress and chaos of finding that perfect gift for that special someone. We spend ourselves into so much debt that it takes at least 3 months or more to pay it off. Do you get caught in this trap, or am I the only one? Each year the gifts get larger and larger and sometimes, I feel like we have to “play in the same ball park” as everyone else.
Every year I have “driven myself crazy” making sure I have the same number of gifts for everyone. By the end of the season, I know that’s not what really matters at all. I don’t have to work myself into a frenzy at the holidays just to prove to my family and friends that I love and appreciate them. Christmas is about so much more than buying ourselves into a whole heap of debt. When I realized I had read the wrong scripture, I quickly turned to the verses in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 5: 10 – 11 “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?”
Yikes! I didn’t want to fall into that trap and give my one and only life to that! The way I was running myself to death at Christmas isn’t what the Lord wants for me. I am a child of the King and I have to live like it…every day of my life. The mentality of this world is to always leave you wanting more. Advertisers are aware of the concept and use it in their commercials to their advantage because they know we are always “hungry” for more. At this time of year when things go crazy, I am in need of more Jesus in my life…I need and want him more today than I did yesterday. It is only through His leading that I can avoid the pitfalls and trappings of this world….especially during the holidays.
I’m glad I landed in Ephesians that day. It made me think differently about Christmas that year and every year since. Christ is the reason for the season!