Ready or not, we are full swing into the Holiday season. Thanksgiving day is just past. That means Christmas and then New Years are not far away. Not all of us view all of the holidays with the same emphasis as do many people, but it is a pleasant and rather exciting time of the year. The holidays seem to come faster as the years go by, and it seems that preparations for them begin earlier.
Part of the problem is that the holidays have become extremely commercialized. Stores begin marketing earlier and earlier in order to get us consumers in the mood sooner and thereby cash in more. We have successfully been sold a bill of goods that tells us that we have to spend a lot of money in order to properly enjoy the holidays.
Whatever happened to the simple family aspect of this time of year? It used to be a time when more emphasis was given to families spending time together than to buying presents for each other. I like presents, and I love to give presents, but I think we’re missing something when that becomes the primary focus of the holiday season. Why don’t we try to focus more on what we have for which to be thankful than on how big a splash we can make by either giving or receiving some spectacular gift or collection of gifts?
Most all of us have been blessed bountifully. The blessing of living in this nation, as opposed to many other parts of the world. There is probably no nation in the world to which more of the world’s population longs to come than right here where we live from day to day. Food and water in abundance. A transportation system that allows us to travel virtually anywhere we want to go in a matter of hours. Abundant energy. Freedom to think and say just about anything we like. And money, for all of our struggles to make it, spend it and save it, we make more money in a month than many people in other parts of the world make in a year.
The holiday season is a time which generally stimulates people to focus more on their spiritual lives than during most other times of the year. I am thankful for that. Maybe we can touch some of them with the gospel and their hearts will be more receptive to its message. Try to reach out to someone, or several people, over the next few weeks and see what happens?
What we have most to be thankful for, of course, is the fact that God sent His Son to die to pay the price for the guilt of our sins. Through that sacrifice we have the opportunity to be forgiven and saved. We should never take this blessing lightly. In fact, this should be the shaping and directing force that guides our lives. If we have everything else, all the money, all the gifts that all the money could buy, all the bounties of living in this nation, a loving family, and on and on, but we do not have salvation, then we have nothing! Nothing can compare with our soul’s salvation. Nothing is worth giving up that salvation for (Matt. 16:26). It is so precious that it cost the life of the Son of God (Rom. 5:8). We should be thankful that God and His Son were willing to pay that price for us.
Now, do we live as though we are truly thankful that the price has been paid? Do you thank the Lord through the way you live your life day in and day out?…
Gary L. Hutchens