December 04, 2015

Christmas Lists

Luke 12:13-21

[Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

—  Luke 12:15

We know better, but we still get caught up in the retail madness of Christmas. It is hard to avoid when stores announce the countdown of shopping days till Christmas, when ads keep putting gift ideas in our heads, or when the kids give us a sad look and tell us what they really want for Christmas. It’s hard not to think that our worth is measured by an abundance of presents under the tree.

We know better. But if we are kids or teens, we also know that our friends will ask, “What did you get for Christmas?” while eagerly cataloging their haul. And while we as adults may be more subtle, we are not immune from the comparison game. We might not ask our friends, “What did you get?” but we can’t help noting someone’s remark about a vacation or new bling. Especially in December we need to be on guard “against all kinds of greed.”

A friend who grew up in a large family said that he and his siblings noticed something while remembering past Christmases: “We noticed that the stuff we did together was what stood out, not the stuff we got.” In his story about a man who built bigger barns, Jesus reminds us there is more to life than hoarding stuff. Having things will ­never satisfy, but waiting for our faithful God will!

Giving God, teach us to measure our worth in our relationship with you, not in the goods we accumulate. Help us to be as generous to others as you have been with us. Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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