Give more than you receive this Christmas

Tis the season for texting your mom links to the new Ugg slippers and must-have Selah hoodie. Nothing says the true meaning of Christmas more than Amazon packages piled outside your door. 

Christmas has become more about what is under the tree rather than who is in the manger. The arrival of our God Almighty as a human child should probably get more hype than the Madewell doorbuster sale.

We could talk all day about how Western culture has commercialized the holidays, but that is not news to anyone. Instead, I want to focus on the condition of our hearts that spurs us to engage with and participate in the consumerism culture. 

I don’t think we become more materialistic during the holidays. I believe that all the sales and Christmas lists reveal what hides within our hearts all year long. We are creatures prone to look to material things for happiness and comfort.

That is the heart of materialism. It’s not always wanting the newest or most expensive thing but placing your contentment in your possessions. That ideology is found in every economic bracket, not just among the wealthy.

Is Christmas your favorite holiday because it is the celebration of the coming savior, or because the newest iPhone is waiting for you under the tree? 

The sin isn’t in enjoying getting something nice. The sin is in desiring possessions more than God. I wonder how much time we spend shopping online versus how much time we spend with Immanuel, the God who came down from heaven to die for our sins.

It is stark and a bit harsh to juxtapose shopping with quiet time, but the contrast is necessary. Jesus did not take greed, selfishness or materialism lightly. We shouldn’t either. A sin’s being celebrated and encouraged in society does not make it any less of a sin.

Thankfully, we serve a God who understands our temptations and struggles. He prescribes an antidote to our obsession with selfish gain: generosity.

It becomes significantly harder to focus on yourself when you are focused on serving others. That perfect new pair of shoes gets less thought when you are thinking about what to give to those around you — God created it to be this way.

If you are fed up with the constant-felt need for new things, consider using that energy for the Kingdom instead. Use it as your drive to meet others’ needs. Spend your time and money on eternal things, not on an overpriced shirt that will eventually get stained and donated to Goodwill.

The only thing that will allow us to overcome the sin of materialism is a genuine belief in the promise that Jesus is enough — that he is all we need. It may sound cheesy and cliché, but it is the very foundation of our salvation and of our lives. 

Sacrifice your worldly desires to Jesus. Trust that he is the only source of all contentment, joy and comfort. He is worth more than all the fleeting treasures this world has to offer.

Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

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