by David Courington
What a joy to take time to be with loved ones, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.!
Each year we look forward to these cherished times and look backward to those who have gone on before us. This time together can build relationships, encourage us, and even help us to hone in on what is really important in life. For example, time spent with our family is never wasted. Daily life with its trials, work, and commitments can be a strain. The love of a husband, wife, and children (Ephesians 6) and our extended family is a vitally important part of our spiritual life. Love for brother and neighbor is not considered a sideline, but a main part of the Christian life as we see loving our neighbor as ourselves was considered the second great commandment in the law (Matt. 22:39). It is hard to love those we do not know and never spend time with.
Likewise, the generosity of so many during the holidays is heartening. Those gifts of sacrifice, time, and specially selected items given as an expression of love are special to all of us. Many people are more giving to the church and other worthy charities during this season than any other. Indeed it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)
Furthermore, some pay more attention to spiritual matters during the holidays. While God did not designate Christmas as a holy day, any day when men are honoring God, praising the gift of His Son, and paying attention to the spiritual rather than the material, may lift one to greater service and purpose in life.
On the other hand, there are those who make the holidays into very unholy days. The use of strong alcoholic beverages, which God warns about in Proverbs 20:1, Prov. 23:29-35, gets totally out of hand. The very idea of celebrating God’s gift of His Son, or a new year in any such ungodly fashion disgraces Him.
Some families gathering around the Christmas tree – fussin’, cussin’, and feuding. This can be the pattern each year. It doesn’t have to be so. God’s people seek peace (1 Pet. 3:11) and pursue it! Neither do they spend time gossiping and speaking unkindly of others (James 3).
Still others neglect to think about God during the holidays. Instead of uplifting His name; worshipping on the Lord’s day, praying daily, and giving generous offerings; worldly pursuits take precedence. Unneeded presents can override true spiritual generosity and our need to meet our obligations. Greed can make gifts far more about “me” than God and others. One admonition we should remember each day of the year is “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)