We Messed Up Christmas!

It’s December that all of our thoughts are directed toward Christmas.  As I write this I know that when it is read I will be granted the personification of a modern day “Scrooge!”  For most people I know– flocked trees, bright lights, holiday scenes at people’s house and getting gifts predominate our thoughts at this time of year.  Jesus is still represented by a baby doll!  For most people Jesus has never grown up.  We fail to remember the manager and all that happen was the beginning of a thirty year journey for our Lord that would end only a few miles from where it began at the garbage dump of the City of Jerusalem.

Just like the people  in the days He was born we focus on the gold and frankincense–we want to be anointed and be rich while we serve God in our own ways .  We do not want to embrace the myrrh.  We do not want to think about the reality that in order to be a believer growing in our relationship with God we must “die daily.”   “Unless a seed falls in the ground and dies it will not bring forth a harvest.”  You and I must “die daily to this world and the things of this world and be made alive to the things that are in heaven.”

What happens at Christmas for most people screams that we are in love with the world and the things of the world.  We teach our children to go and sit in a fat jolly man’s lap that has become our personification of God to tell him what they want and have every expectation that it will magically appear on December 25!  The child has no knowledge or perception of  what did it cost and how much had to be sacrificed to get that very expensive toy and/or gift!  The whole process is a reversal of the Bible’s teaching “deny yourself take up a cross and follow me.”  Also, the focus of the people who had to pay for the items is getting it paid off before next Christmas where we can do it all over again.  The resources given us by the Lord to be given back for ministry to reveal Christ in a dark world have already been spent the past Christmas for items that are now broken and discarded like the toys in “Toy Story.”

You remember the movie where Woody and his fellow toys, that have been accumulated for a child over the years costing a lot of money, are now being discarded because the child has grown up and does not want those toys anymore.  But, if we are honest for the child owner who has supposedly grown up he is discarding these toys because as an adult he now is accumulating more and more expensive “adult toys” such as jet skis, cruises, boats, vacation homes, vacations, bigger cars and other stuff!  The cycle started when we were children and continues when we are adults.  The terrible issue that God says do not go there is to keep this going we must go into DEBT!

I was reading an article this week that said that 80% of all debt accumulated to buy Christmas this year will not be paid off when the next Christmas comes.  Then we start the whole process over again and go deeper in debt.  The end result is the focus of our life that is supposed to be on our relationship with God and serving Him in a manner that the World sees Jesus;  however, we have become slaves to a system that promises us everything and gives us nothing.  We get a new car now financed for six years and drive it around the block and it depreciates 6 to 8% just going around the block!  But, we have our car and we have a payment each month that steals God’s resources He desires to be used to reveal and lift up Jesus!  God tells us to give and we remind Him we are in debt and have nothing to give.  Do you think this is wrong?

When I write articles like this or speak somewhere I am always confronted with the naysayers telling me “God wants us to be happy and prosper.”  Ross, you need to get what you are saying in perspective to the whole picture.  In other Words you are wrong and we are choosing to believe it is God’s will to squander His resources on the things of this World and exclude using what He has given us for ministry where Christ is lifted up and revealed in this dark and sinful World!

Let’s see if my perspective is out of line as we examine the perspective of Jesus:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21

Mark 10  Jesus is approached by a rich Jewish man that asked Jesus how he can be saved?  The man calls Jesus good and the Lord reminds him that only God is good.  Jesus in essence tells him to obey the ten commandments and the man replies he has done this since he was a child.  Amazingly Jesus does not rebuke him; so, it must have been true the man had kept the commandments.  Then Jesus tells him this that I believe will and should resonate in the lives of believers today in verse 21:
“Jesus looked at him and loved him.  “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come follow me.”

The rich man left “sad because he had great wealth.”  The rest of the passage is Jesus teaching how hard it is to get a rich man into Heaven.

Most of you will read this article and understand the man is sad.  In our lives many of us are depressed and sad because we have accumulated the world’s stuff but forfeited a dependent growing relationship with our Lord!

Let’s take our treasures and gold to Jesus and give it away in ministry.  When you head out to the mall risking life and limb to buy a toy or something ask the Holy Spirit is this purchase is your will?  When we come to Christ it is no “longer I that lives but Christ in me…”  We died and have given up the right and privilege of making decisions for ourselves.  We are slaves and nothing we do should be our decision.  As God’s children we are to do nothing without it be under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Ask the Holy Spirit on your way to the mall to spend His money–is this your will?  Do you want me to spend this money like this?  If you have not heard anything then with the revealed truth of the Word you have you should not proceed!  If you and I do not have a Word that reveals what we are doing is the Will of the Father then we should not proceed.  Do soldiers move without orders and directions of the commanding officer?

We need to Celebrate the birth of Jesus and not the accumulation of the things of this World!