Philippians 4: 3-9
“ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
When we live in a country where we are more likely to experience first-world problems we can easily become anxious about superficial and materialistic things; at no other time of year is this more evident than during the Christmas holidays. In other parts of the world parents worry about clean drinking water for their families, the safety of their war torn community, being able to afford basic school fees so their children can obtain a basic elementary education, they worry about their children acquiring diseases that are almost non-existent here in North America. While our first-world problems are a far cry from the issues facing people in developing nations, God still hears our prayers and petitions, even though they are not life threatening problems. He hears our prayers because He cares about what is on our hearts.
Christmas can be stressful and anxiety producing. This is an important time to turn to God in remembrance of what the true meaning of the Advent season is about. If you can’t afford to purchase certain gifts due to a financial budget, give that concern to God. When we turn to God with our materialistic concerns He has an amazing ability to send His Holy Spirit to remind us of what Advent and the celebration of Christmas is about. The season is not about gift giving, that is called consumerism, not Christmas. Trust in the Lord, trust that He understands if you are unable to afford an extravagant Christmas or even the basics for the holidays. As you walk through the malls searching for gifts to buy for family and friends, pray! Yes, pray! Pray that you will be responsible with the finances you have. Pray that those who you are purchasing gifts for will have a softened and understanding heart towards your financial constraints. Pray that you will be a grateful giver.
There was no Christmas in Jesus’ lifetime, it didn’t exist and this is why the holiday season is not ultimately about gift giving. Christmas day is about rejoicing in the fact that we have an amazing God who sent His son to be our salvation, this is what we rejoice about. Holiday gifts are nothing more than a sweet bonus and a time to be in the company of those we care about.
The Christmas Gift Challenge:
For every gift that you are going to wrap (or place in a gift bag), stop and give thanks to God for one gift that He has given to us here on earth. Here’s some ideas of gifts given to us by God:
- His word (The Bible)
- Spiritual Gifts
Every time you go to the mall for gift shopping, stop and give thanks to God for blessing you with the resources to be able to purchase gifts for others. I guarantee this will change your shopping experience. When you are in the mall being tempted by all the bling and enticing marketing, it is easy to forget what the season is about, but by bringing God into your shopping experience, this is a simple way to open your heart, mind and wallet to God while trying to avoid being drawn into the deep end of holiday consumerism. May God Bless you as you bless others during the holidays.