It’s ironic to me. November, the month set aside for thankfulness, is actually usually filled with preparing for the month of December and the chaos we have made the Christmas season to be. Stores start preparing for the Christmas season earlier each year. Yes, I even see it in my family as well. As October rounds the final corner, the Christmas lists and questions start to appear. Through the month of November we brainstorm what each person in our life could want for Christmas, where to get the best deal and how much we can afford to spend this holiday season.
I love Christmas and am, by nature, a planner. I love to have my gifts bought before the rush of the season begins. However, I am afraid we miss the thankfulness part of November. It’s hard to be content and celebrate being thankful for what we have while simultaneously making lists of things we want.
I used to wonder as a child how any person could answer the question: “What do you want for Christmas?” with a smile and a shrug, followed by “nothing, I have all I need.” As an adult now, I think I am getting a glimpse of this answer. Contentment. Focus on what’s really important in life, what you should be doing, rather than having. The older I get, the more I realize that stuff, is just stuff.
In the book of Philippians we find a guy named Paul who records some thoughts on this subject.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Philippians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Paul had a heavenly perspective on life. He didn’t let his belongings dictate who he was or his happiness. His strength was found in Christ alone.
As we enter this busyness of the holiday season, don’t neglect the contentment to be found in being thankful for what you already have. Don’t let the pressure of what everyone else is doing or buying set the tone for your happiness. Stuff, well, it is just stuff. If we think the perfect gift or purchase will satisfy us, we will be disappointed every time. Our source of strength and contentment is only found in Christ alone.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all You have blessed us with. May we find the time to focus on You and all the many ways You have blessed us during this holiday season. Amen.