The Joys of the Christmas Season.

Over the past four weeks, I delivered hundreds of packages to the same homes in a small rural community.  I couldn’t help to think how much debt was being accumulated as I placed televisions and computers on front porches.  I kept asking my UPS driver when the spending would stop.  In a conversation with a postal worker, he wondered the same thing.
I wonder if the joy of Christmas will be missed in all of those packages.  I wonder if the pleasures of Christmas overtake the purpose of Christmas.
Last week, I read that one out of six adults will spend the next six months paying for their Christmas shopping.  You can google countless articles regarding the topic.
This morning, I am reminded the purpose of Christmas is much greater than what we will give one another in the next few days.  James 4:14 says, “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes”.  I believe the verse is true about the stuff you put under the Christmas tree in the next 24 hours.  It’s just “stuff” that will be replaced with the next best “stuff”.
When the gifts fade and disappear, the laughter and conversations we have with the people we love and care for will be remembered for many years.  The effort that we make to keep in Jesus at the center of Christmas will be remembered.
I want to encourage you today to give an equal effort to the purpose of Christmas you did to the pleasures of Christmas.
Here are four ways to emphasize the purpose of Christmas in the next 24 hours.
1. Go to church.  Your regular church attendance doesn’t matter on this weekend; every church with something to offer is expecting you.  You might just find what you’ve been looking for as you shop.
2.  Serve another person or family.  God used me in the past week to help another marriage.  Working for UPS this Christmas was never in my plan, but clearly God needed me on that truck.  A marriage of 35 years has been given new hope this week.  Praise God!
3.  Read the Christmas story (Luke 2) with your family.  Nothing beats reading Scripture with your family.
4.  Take a few moments to count the blessings in 2016.  We often take our blessings for granted because we live in the United States.  Blessings are given by God’s grace.  None of us is entitled to them.
I hope your Christmas is one that is full of blessing and purpose.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
You are loved!