“Good News of Great Joy,” Day 24: How Greed Steals Christmas

booklet_coverI recently created a 26-day Advent devotional booklet for my church called “Good News of Great Joy.” I will be posting a devotional from it each day between now and Christmas day. Enjoy!

Scripture: Revelation 3:14-22

In How the Grinch Stole Christmas! you may recall that the Grinch snuck into the town of Whoville on Christmas Eve night and hauled away the toys,  presents, food, and Christmas decorations that belonged to the town’s residents, the “Whos.”

We’re tempted to look down on the Grinch and think, “Shame, shame, shame… How could he imagine that he could steal Christmas by stealing all these things? Things aren’t what Christmas is about.” As the Whos sing, “Christmas is always in our grasp, as long as we have hands to clasp.”

But, if we’re honest with ourselves, we might instead forgive the Grinch for being so confused.

grinch1In his book Christmas Is Not Your Birthday, United Methodist pastor Mike Slaughter points out that while the size of the American family has shrunk over the last 30 years, the size of our houses has increased 42 percent. “We eat out more,” he says, “and spend less time cooking, yet kitchen sizes have doubled.”[1] He quotes an author who says that, for us, shopping is spirituality. We attempt to find meaning and purpose in products we buy. We confuse our real, built-in desire for God our Creator, with a desire for created things—things that can never possibly satisfy our souls. This is the very definition of idolatry.

In Revelation chapter 3, Jesus tells the church at Laodicea, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” The Laodiceans professed faith in Christ, but they put their trust in money and possessions. Do we ever do that, too?

Good old-fashioned American consumerism, which is a form of greed, has this destructive ability to reduce our Christian faith to nothing but words: we say we believe in Jesus, but our faith is somewhere else.

How does the sin of greed manifest itself in your life? Are you facing the temptation to be greedy during this Christmas season? Take this time to repent of the sin of greed. Pray that the Lord will help you resist this temptation and replace greed with generosity.

📲 Watch a clip of the Grinch discovering the joy of Christmas.

1. Mike Slaughter, Christmas Is Not Your Birthday (Nashville: Abingdon, 2011), 77.

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