Merry & Content
“It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts”. Ecclesiastes 3:13 (HCSB)
I started to write today about “The Reason for the Season” or “Slow Down/Simplify” and trust me I found lots of inspiration from my own experience with excess. It’s easy to feel bad about going overboard! Over the top with shopping, decorations or the steady stream of activity, the photo shoot, daily Christmas themed baking or crafting. It can easily turn not fun and snappy. Yes, I know, happiness and contentment do not come from stuff; they come from a relationship with God. That being said, December brings joyful traditions, gifts exchange, and glittering celebrations. We should remember that the instructions of the Bible include feasts and happy hospitality! Somewhere in the middle we have deeply spiritual recognition of the birth of our Savior and our choices to celebrate by baking.
In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul writes “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” So what was the secret to Paul's joy? What was the secret of his contentment? Paul found the secret of contentment is not in what you have; it is in whom you know. And the "whom" to which I am referring is Jesus. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you'" (NLT). It is because God is with us always that we can say, "I have found contentment." No matter what happens, no one can take that from you. But you will be able to keep your balance in all of that, because you recognize that God is the provider.
So I will joyfully relish the bustle and hustle. The characters in the Bible often made plans to celebrate. They passed out assignments, organized the people, and oversaw every aspect of the celebration. Romans says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things.” Celebration reminds us that every success happens by the grace of God.
Gratitude to God for all that He has done removes pride and opens the door to future blessings. Without thanksgiving, we would forget what is truly important. Contentment is a state of heart. Contentment is found in making the most of the least. That is what the apostle Paul was saying. So you can have joy and contentment in the midst of a busy Christmas season, “also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man.” Ecc 3:13 esv
Father, the holiday season can be quite a trial and even a deep sadness to many people. We thank You for the wonderful hope that the Christmas message instills into each of our hearts, and the glorious message of the gospel of peace. Amen.
Roberta Smith, Faith and Family Coordinator