The Other Side of Christmas: December 13

Treasure in Heaven           

December 13, 2019
by Kelly O’Connor         

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) 
 “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 treasures 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.”
How did we get from a humble manger in a stable when there was no room in the inn to Black Friday, doorbusters, online deals, and free shipping?  Well, we could spend hours studying the history of the holiday (I have done this), learning about the origins of celebration of the winter solstice in ancient northern European lands where it was dark for months, and the joy when the days finally started to have more light. December 25 was chosen in the 3rd century as the date to observe Christ’s birth, as a metaphor for the true Light shining in the darkness (John 1:5).  Christian influence on the celebration of the solstice helped tone down the debauchery characteristic of these festivities.  The introduction of Santa Claus (St. Nicholas Day, December 6, Bishop of Myra and defender of the Trinity) espoused generosity in gift giving. The Puritans eschewed the corruption of the holy day, banning it in the New World.  But its popularity resurfaced in the 19th century with Clement Clark Moore’s poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Modern depictions grew fashionable with Charles Dickens’  A Christmas Carol in 1843.  Gift giving was an economic booster for a young entrepreneurial nation, and thus it was capitalized upon.  And so today, we Americans give gifts at Christmas!  Our traditions of the holiday have been exported to the global economy as well.  But where is Jesus in all this?  
The answer: He is everywhere.  He is not just the reason for the season, but the reason for our salvation, every day, not just on Christmas or on Easter or on Sunday. He is not caught up in the materialism, nor is He forgotten.  He is in our hearts, and we are His hands and feet, doing His work in every season, if we let Him work through us. His gift to us is freedom from the bondage of sin, and that is the greatest gift we can share with others.
If you are overwhelmed by the material obligations of the season (the gift lists, the entertaining, the decorating), stop and pray!  Pray for the person you are gifting. Pray for the friends and family you are hosting. Pray for His guidance to keep it simple, focus on Him, and accomplish what He deems important.  It might mean crossing some items off your to do list in order to concentrate on what is important. Ask God to help you reach out to someone who isn’t normally on your guest or gift list and bless them with a phone call, a hug, or a kind word of encouragement.  Christmas does not have to be a stressful time if you commit your plans to the Lord! (Proverbs 16:3).  Share the joy of His sacrifice and perfect gift to us.
 Lord, in this season that often feels taken over by consumerism and focus on things rather than Your sacrifice, help us to see the beautiful truth of Christmas and the treasure You have promised us in Heaven. With an eye on eternity, let us proceed to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this season and all year, celebrating His light in the darkness.

About the author:
Kelly O’Connor
Kelly is a homeschooling mom to 4 daughters. Her husband Ken recently retired from the Marine Corps. As a family that has moved a lot over the years, they are grateful for their family, friends, and church here in Stafford.