How many of you gave your parents a Christmas wish list when you were young? It started by carefully perusing your mom’s JC Penney or Sears catalogs, practically salivating as you turned every page of the toy section. You then carefully thought out every item on that list, you may have even ranked them in order of importance to you. A Barbie doll, Mr. Potato Head, a Magic 8 Ball, Light Bright, a Big Wheel, a G.I. Joe, Twister, a slinky, Operation—aahh…the good old days! 🙂
And how many of your kids now give you their Christmas wish lists? X Box 360, IPad, IPod, smart phone, digital camera, Kindle Fire—for us parents it’s not so much the “good old days,” but the “break the bank” days.
I think there must be something in us that’s prone to want, want, want. And this little “want mechanism” inside us kicks into high gear at Christmas time. And unfortunately we live in a time where we don’t know the word “NO” (either regarding ourselves or others), so our “want, want, want” equals “get, get, get.”
Somehow, some way, we’ve got to figure out how to keep our “want mechanism” in check. The writer of Hebrews has something quite profound to say about this very thing. Check it out: Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what… (Hebrews 13:5-6, MSG). Going a little further in the chapter, he writes: And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. (Hebrews 13:16, NLT).
So how do we keep our “want mechanism” in check? Here are 4 key things:
- Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Face it…more stuff is just more stress. I’m pretty sure the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses” is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
- Be relaxed with what you have. Learn to enjoy and even embrace the things you already have. They may not be perfect or shiny or flawless any more, but they do the job. Sometimes the best memories are made with our good, old, worn out stuff.
- God is all you need. You may want more stuff, but the reality is the God who created you in His image loves you dearly and desires to take care of you, provide for you, and have a walking, living, breathing relationship with you each day.
- Give, give, give. Go serve, volunteer at the local shelter, pack up boxes of your unwanted stuff and give it away. Share with those in need. There’s nothing like putting the needs of other people above yours–it curbs your own appetite for more.
This week, as gifts are exchanged, Christmas sales are running rampant, gift cards are being cashed in, and more money being spent, remember to keep your “want mechanism” in check. After all, it’s sacrifice, not selfishness, that pleases God.
Have a blessed Christmas!