“’Awake, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be careful then, how you live—not as unwise, but wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:14-16)
It is interesting how the holidays reveal so much about men’s hearts. I am blessed by stories of Good Samaritans like the man who drove his RV to California at Thanksgiving to help serve that community. But he didn’t drive his RV so he could stay in it. He drove it to give to a deserving firefighter who lost his home in the fire, so he would have a place to live. That kind of generosity is refreshing. The Bible says such generosity not only refreshes others but refreshes the giver as well (Proverbs 11:25).
On the other hand, the holidays also reveal the deep selfishness and greed of the human heart. It is sad how Christmas, a time for giving, has become so much about getting and profiting. Black Friday promotions feed on our appetite for stuff. Our children learn more about coveting than about caring. Unwittingly, perhaps, we fuel their covetousness by encouraging them to make long lists of expensive toys for themselves they neither need nor appreciate for long.
I wonder how different the holidays might be if more parents and grandparents thought it important to teach that it is more blessed to give than receive, or that Christmas really has nothing to do with our packages under the tree. If Christ was our all-satisfying delight, would the things of this world lose their luster?
Paul challenged believers to wake up and see in the light of Christ that we have been made alive. Because that is true, we are to be careful how we live. We are to wisely make the most of every opportunity to bear witness to a greater treasure.
A Better Treasure
Grandparents, what are you doing to demonstrate this better treasure in the eyes of your grandchildren? You have the power through the Spirit to influence what these Holy Days are really about, or you can accommodate the lust for treasures that rust and never last. Nor do they satisfy our deep longings for better treasure.
Advent is one way to help focus on the reason for our Christmas holiday. Advent begins on Sunday, December 2 this year. There are a number of Advent resources available online or in your Christian bookstore. Here’s one simple little booklet (A Christmas Code) you can use with your grandchildren, even if they’re far away. Over the next several weeks, I will also be sharing an Advent schedule you may find useful.
By the way, there’s nothing wrong with giving good gifts to your grandchildren, as long as that’s not all you give them. Don’t forget the better gift of the Gospel and pray they will delight in the wondrous glory of that Gospel. That’s the wonder of Christmas. Don’t be caught asleep and miss this opportunity to show them the better gift.