This two-minute video could change your Christmas

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This two-minute video could change your Christmas

November 18, 2013 -

Gospel for Asia ministries has produced “Forgotten Christmas.”  Take a moment to view the video, then let’s continue our conversation.
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It’s estimated that Americans will spend $400 billion on Christmas this year.  Forty percent of the toys given in December will be broken by March.  Fifty percent of us will spend more than we can afford.  A third of us will take six months to pay off our Christmas spending.  And 20 percent will have trouble making their mortgage or rent payment in January because of Christmas spending.

The commercialism of Christmas continues apace.  Kmart aired its first Christmas ad last September.  More than a dozen major retailers will be open all day Thanksgiving for Christmas shopping, rendering Abraham Lincoln’s vision of “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father” less relevant than ever.

How do we balance the holiday of Christmas with the holy day of Christ’s birth?

Paul instructed Timothy: “As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17, NRSV).  Here we find two truths in apparent conflict.

On one hand, we are not to confuse prosperity with purpose.  Paul warns that riches are “uncertain”—the Greek word describes a foundation that could crumble and cause the house to collapse.  Hebrews 13:5 warns us to “keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.”  1 Timothy 6:10 adds that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”  Ecclesiastes 5:10 predicts, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.”

On the other hand, God “richly” (plousios, abundantly, extremely) gives us what we have for our “enjoyment” (apolausis, pleasure, profit, advantage, joyfulness).  Our Father has “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

A way to harmonize these truths is to use our material possessions for eternal purposes.  From Abraham and Barnabas to today, the Lord uses wealth for his glory and our good.  According to the Gospel for Asia video, one percent of what we spend on Christmas gifts would provide clean water to over a billion people in South Asia and a Bible to everyone in the world.  By giving that amount to ministries, millions could hear about the first Christmas for the first time this year.

How can we make Christmas less commercial and more spiritual?  And ask the Lord how he wants the holidays to be holy days for you and your family.  Mother Teresa was right: “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.”

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