Christmas morning is almost here and little feet will be running down stairs, running from their rooms, wiping sleep from their eyes, waking up early with anticipation to run to that brightly lit Christmas tree and find stashed under that tree – disappointment.
But no, the grinch didn’t come and steal all their presents. The tree is still there. It’s not back at ‘santa’s workshop’ getting a light replaced. All the woositz and whatchamacallits are still there. In fact, all the presents are still under the tree, but along with them is disappointment.
Yes, all across the world, children will be given gifts upon gifts, parents will empty bank accounts, relatives will do what they can to give children exactly what they think they want, and some will just fall short. No matter what some people do, it’s just going to happen that some will be disappointed, no matter what they get. For some, it’s just because they’re ungrateful. For others, it may be because Santa didn’t bring them the one thing they really wanted because Santa’s paycheck wasn’t big enough. For some, it may just be because we thought that the other people knew what to get us, even though we gave them no indication at all. Whatever the reason may be, there’s going to be some disappointment under the tree. So what do we do when that happens? Or what can we do to stop it from happening? How can we be like the little whos in Whoville that sing and celebrate even though there’s nothing under the tree…..and no tree either?
Every year during Christmas, we build anticipation. We anticipate what we’re going to get, what someone else may get us. We may even judge how much someone loves us by what they give us. We have this anticipation in other areas as well. When we get married, when we go to a new school or workplace, anything new really, we build anticipation in our mind of what it’s supposed to be like.
But for Christmas, it seems different. But then again, Christmas is different. What is Christmas about anyway? What’s the true meaning of Christmas? For the world, it’s about family and appreciating what you have. For Christians, it’s about Jesus. That’s what it’s really about. It’s all about Jesus, not just Christmas – everything. It doesn’t matter what we think it’s about, our opinion doesn’t change the truth.
Presents aren’t the meaning of Christmas. Despite what every store on the planet will tell you. Yes, it’s nice to get stuff, but that’s not the true meaning. It’s something that we’ve thrown in there. It’s not about what we get. But that doesn’t mean that it hurts any less when we don’t get something we’re expecting. In fact, we may be like the Grinch who anticipates the sadness and disappointment in Whoville, but he’s the one that ends up being disappointed.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” No matter what state, no matter what you get or don’t get, be content. Be happy where you are and for what you have. Be like those little whos down in Whoville. More so, be like Paul. Why was Paul content? His focus wasn’t on the holidays. It wasn’t on people. It wasn’t on gifts or things. His focus was continually on Jesus and doing His will. Jesus was His focus and that is why He was content.
Just because you’re a Christian, that doesn’t mean you’re focused on Jesus. Even if you are focused on Him, sometimes that focus slips. Sometimes emotions try to get a hold of you and bring you down. Even though you’re focused on the gift of Jesus, that emotional pull that you had wrapped up in your expectation for a new Playstation is pulling you down. Even though only 1% of people who want one can get one, and it goes against all logic thinking you might actually get one. But logic is many times trumped by emotions. That’s why we have 1 Peter 5:7 – “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” The Lord knows that you feel disappointed. God cares. He cares for you and everything that you care for. That’s how loving He is. But God is more concerned about you, than He is about what you get. He doesn’t mind you having stuff as long as stuff doesn’t have you.
He doesn’t care if you get that new game you want as long as you don’t spend 8 of the 9 free hours you have of the day playing it – every day. But then again, even those who don’t have the things get that same bad attitude or get wrapped up in stuff. They just direct it in another way, like towards those who do have something, thinking that they’re crooks or some other thing that has no grounding in truth at all. If God can get it through you (you’ll give it away at His word), then He can get it to you.
Some people just can’t handle some things, like the video game illustration. God wants to build character in you, build discipline in you, so that you can handle that video game and not let it consume you (or whatever thing it is you want). It may start with a video game, but He’s trying to build you up to being able to deal with the praises of men and not get in pride.
3 John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Just as your soul prospers. As you mature and can handle more, God will give you more. There’s a reason why most lottery winners become bankrupt or destroy their lives within a few years of winning millions. They can’t handle it because their soul, their maturity level isn’t where it should be to handle that much money.
Don’t get me wrong, none of that is an excuse of why you don’t get something. It may come down to the fact that someone doesn’t have the money for it, didn’t think of it, overlooked it, or something as simple as that. The real question is this: “Why do we get disappointed when we don’t get what we want for Christmas?” It’s simple. We have gotten our focus on Santa, a parent, on a present, on the giver, and we’ve gotten it off of Jesus. We’ve gotten worried, concerned, caught up in the world and what they say. We’ve believed the lie that we have to have a Furby or Tickle Me Elmo, or that the bigger the present, the more the love.Or the lie that if you loved me, you’d buy it for me.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.” God is the real gift giver. Not your mom or dad, husband or wife, or Santa. We’re told to ask Him for everything we need.
Now you may be thinking, “Yes, asking Him for everything we need, but what about what we want?” Can I really justify a new Playstation in prayer? Yes.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 NKJV
Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. – James 1:17 NCV
The Lord’s blessing brings wealth, and no sorrow comes with it. – Proverbs 10:22 NCV
God desires to bless His people and He’s given us a way for Him to do it. It’s through prayer and faith. Through faith, Peter walked on water. He didn’t need to walk on water. He wanted to walk on water. Walking on water didn’t feed anyone, didn’t send anyone to Heaven. If they didn’t believe in Jesus for all the other things He did, Peter walking on water wasn’t going to help. It was a desire, a want. The Bible is filled with God answering prayers of wants and desires. That’s because He is a loving God, a loving Father.
Why then should we look to other people to give us what we desire? Why should we look to the present under the Christmas tree to answer that want in our heart? We shouldn’t. God is our source of everything and we should look to Him for everything we desire. We don’t do that because we have not developed a relationship of trust in God and allow Him to be our provider. God desires for us to have that kind of relationship with Him, where we can ask Him for anything. No, that doesn’t mean He’s Santa or a genie in a bottle or a lottery ticket. It does mean that He is our provider, our source, our God.
John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
What do you want for Christmas? How about a deeper relationship with God. That’s the kind of relationship that is filled with the presence and love of God, and as a side benefit, those prayers of your wants and desires are answered.
Perhaps it would be a good idea if the Grinch did steal everything (not that we want that or wish that one anyone), but if he did, we could see where our focus is. It shouldn’t be on ribbons or on tags. It shouldn’t be on packages, boxes or bags. Our focus should be on Jesus and who He is to us and who He is to the world. Don’t get your focus off and on presents, trees, or Santa. Keep it on the real gift giver.