It is hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. In Christian churches throughout the world, the preparations are already well underway for the celebration to come. You can really start to feel the joy of Christmas starting to build. It starts out low but then begins to grow.

I was sitting in Bible Study the other night, and a young gentleman was on his phone. I was wondering what he was so engaged in that was distracting him from the conversation. So, I asked, “Is everything okay?” He quickly responded with excitement, “Oh yeah, I am just ordering my mom’s Christmas present on Amazon.” Hmmmm? That didn’t seem to be the time or place to be ordering gifts. Still, it got me thinking about the materialism we unfortunately associate with Christmas.

I have always done my best to find the best gift possible for family and friends. I don’t care for giving gift cards, although I understand the simplicity it brings to gift giving, but to give a gift with little to no thought makes me wonder why even give a gift. Is it out of obligation? They are giving you a gift, so you must give them one. But the cost of gifts, let alone “nice” gifts, can be overwhelming – both in time and on our finances. And all this leads to the question: What are we actually celebrating? Are we celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, or are we celebrating the accumulation of worthless idols? In 1 Corinthians 10:14, we are reminded: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” And the final verse in 1 John 5 challenges us: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

What we can do to bring happiness to others is to determine a gift for someone that aligns with the spirit of the Christmas season. It will likely be the inexpensive sentimental gift and not the gifts that are so expensive that you end up regretting your choices and paying for them over the next year.

This Christmas season, I challenge you to find joy and happiness in remembering the agape love of our triune God and not in the things we want and not in things we believe we want or feel obligated to buy for others.