“Black Friday” signals the official start of Christmas shopping. Merchants offer early bird deals and extended hours to draw us. On “Black” Friday retailers traditionally begin to turn a profit or move from red ink to black. Many shoppers, conversely, move from black to red.
The enticement of free shipping and a discount on products got me in the shopping spirit. While online a strange phenomenon occurred; I started checking out products I never knew I wanted. One item was a mini blender for travel. I enjoy smoothies and thought about how cumbersome it is to pack my big appliance. Free shipping and a discount, should I buy?
I shook off the spell and remembered I had Christmas gifts to buy. I asked myself if I would buy it at full price? No. That meant I didn’t need it now.
My morning devotion read, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5, NASB).
Greed is idolatry. Ouch.
The biblical definition for greed is “greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice.”1
Knowing that Christmas is about giving, society has made it about shopping and indulgence. Our Thanksgiving Day newspaper had more ads than news. Retailers have spent bazillions of dollars to entice you to buy things you never wanted or needed. It never fails, when I Christmas shop for others, I find something for myself.
Advertisers paint a fantasy world of possibilities. Our imagination fills in the blank with how amazing it will be to own, wear, drive, eat, or play that new super duper, one of a kind specialty. It’s Christmas, and peppermint bark will be gone soon. I deserve a splurge every day of December.
We have to remind ourselves that nicer decorations, extra activities, more desserts, and a bigger bonus won’t translate into a contented soul. Jesus said, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15, NASB)
When true worship displaces idolatry we can walk away from things that promise contentment but leave us poor. Remembering Jesus, the real reason for this season, protects us from greed.
- Consider beginning and ending each day with quiet. Read a Psalm, a Proverb, or the Christmas story. Sing a carol. Count your blessings. Calibrate your compass.
- List the things that feed your soul, and don’t let the pressure of the season crowd those out.
- Be intentional. Taste the food. Look into the eyes of the one with whom you talk. Enjoy the Christmas music. Savor the moment.
- Join the spirit of The Advent Conspiracy.
What keeps you sane during the holidays? I’d love to hear from you.
Deborah W. Wilson
1 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for pleonexia (Strong’s 4124)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 23 Nov 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
This is an excellent reminder Debbie. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Marj. I’m tempted to indulge in many ways during December. It is great to hear from you.
Ann Musico says
Debbie this is excellent. It amazed me this year to begin seeing Halloween decorations and costumes out in August!! (And I don’t consider that a holiday). I do focus on what I can give and I so enjoy it that any temptation to splurge on myself fades away. It also helps to have a budget and know you cannot go over it! But just keeping my focus and attention on Jesus and what we truly are celebrating is my mainstay here. I play Christian Christmas music and after a few days I am singing the songs in my sleep – which is awesome. Music is a powerful thing for me.
Ann, I agree. Music is powerful and a wonderful way to set our mind on the right things. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing from you.
I like to remind myself that I celebrate Jesus and His birth EVERYDAY. So, it takes some pressure away from meeting too many goals for that day. I also want to give to people EVERYDAY. So, again, I want to live in the Spirit of Christmas all the time! Thinking like that helps me not to focus and get pressured so much about the one day. May the Lord help me to keep my focus on Him and not become distracted with too much serving and preparation like Martha, but have a Mary, Merry heart!
Great thoughts, Janis. Thanks for sharing them with us. We do celebrate Jesus everyday.
Great devotional Debbie.
What keeps me sane is listening to Christmas music……….not the Rudolph, Santa type………
I listened to a Christmas cd this morning by Selah called Rose of Bethlehem. The lyrics are awe inspiring and almost every song gives the gospel message. I have decided to give this cd to many of my colleagues at school b/c the message is so clear and the music is beautiful.
Thanks for letting us know about that CD. I love to hear God’s truth delivered in beautiful music. “Pleasant words are … healing to the bones,” (Proverbs 16:24, NASB).