Christmas Greed

Complete this phrase: Christmas ______________________.

I’ll bet most of you said “presents,” right? I’m guessing that you meant the presents you’re going to receive.

Look at us

Do you want to know what I often think of when I hear the word “Christmas?” Greed.  During what’s supposed to be the most giving time of year, so many of us become greedy! People will literally fight for the last toy on a shelf for their child; others create page-long Christmas wish lists (and become upset if the entire list isn’t met); and some want an elaborate meal prepared for them.

We’re not like that, are we?  Think about it for a minute. Have you ever been upset on Christmas day because the gift you really wanted wasn’t under the tree?  Do you regularly expect to sit down to a wonderful holiday meal that you didn’t help prepare (or worse, complain about the food)? Have you ever been upset with someone because they didn’t spend as much money on you as you spent on them? I think that if we’re really honest with ourselves, we could name several selfish things we’ve done during this season.

I hope we can all understand the problem with this greedy mindset, and that we’ll do our best to become conscious of Christmas greed, so we’ll no longer allow ourselves to think and act in such unbecoming ways.

Look outside yourself

When we’re used to focusing on ourselves it can be difficult to change our hearts, but I have a few suggestions in mind to help with the process.

Set aside money. If you receive an allowance, have a job, or receive a check from grandma in the mail, put a set amount aside so you can give to others, as we’re told to do in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Don’t let a lack of money stop you, though! You can do so many things for free, like shovel driveways, babysit, clean a house, or volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

Make a new kind of list! Make a list of ways to give to other people. Your parents or the elders at your church may know of someone in need. Give to that person, whether it’s giving them a bag of groceries, purchasing a few gifts for their children, or putting an anonymous envelope of money under their front door.

Pray about it. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to others. When we’re diligently seeking His will and searching to help others, He will lead us to them.

Keep in mind

We’re not going to be perfect, and our human instinct is to feel disappointment when we don’t receive what we were hoping for, but when we take the time to give to those who have less than us, we will naturally begin to focus less on what we don’t have and more on what we do have.

The ultimate gift was already given to us by Jesus Christ, when He dedicated His life to living perfectly, and when He died on the cross for our sins, as Hebrews 12:2 illustrates: “… Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We can learn from His perfect example and remember that the more we give to others, the less we need to take for ourselves.

Davonne Parks

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