I see people at the stores buying everything in sight. I hear kids telling their parents, "I want this and this and this and this . . . " I see people look at the price of something with horror on their face - then plop down the credit card.
Then the other day Betty met a friend of hers in the checkout line at a local store. In the spirit of making small talk Betty said, "Oh, you are doing some Christmas shopping?" The response was, "Yes, we are purchasing gifts for people who cannot have a Christmas this year." YES, I thought, while observing the dad ahead of us who looked like he was mortgaging his house for a cart full of junk for a group of kids getting high on shopping. (Oh yeah! That can happen!)
Philippians 2:3-4 says "3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. " (ESV)
Is it wrong to give and receive gifts this season? No. But what if you were to receive nothing? Would that change anything? Would you love your family or spouse less? Would you begrudge the world for being, selfish?
Philippians 2:5-8 "5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (ESV)
Jesus' example of selflessness was in and of itself a gift to you. He emptied Himself of all of the vestiges of heaven to take on our human form and live among us. He wasn't some hybrid God/human. He was just as human as you and I. In His humanity, though He gave His life as a gift to you, selflessly. It's this kind of selflessness that drives you to go out and find every person who needs someone in their life today, then become that someone that they need - doesn't it?
Like I said, Christmas is weird.
PRAY Jesus, I understand that you didn't require us to honor your birthday. But it means so much to us we cannot ignore your selflessness. Help me today to give myself to someone who needs a friend today. AMEN.
For more akward Christmas photos, come to FFWC this Sunday @ 10:30 AM. I've got some that will put a smile on your face.