At the time of the writing of this article the Christmas decorations have hit
our department stores reminding us that the silly season is just around the
corner. I call it the silly season with good reason. Did you know:
In Christmas 2008, Aussies spent $21 billion on their credit cards for
Last year it was estimated that Aussies would spend an average of $438 per
person on gifts and food for Christmas?
Another study revealed that Aussies spent $798 million on unwanted gifts for
I remember reading a Peanuts cartoon a couple of years ago where Lucy was
writing out her annual letter to Santa detailing what she wanted for Christmas
that year. Her letter went something like this, “Dear Santa, I
don’t know exactly what I want for Christmas this year ... just give me
lots of stuff!” At her side is Snoopy, watching on and his thought
balloon reads, “Tis the season to be greedy!”
Sometimes it can be difficult to put things into perspective. At the very
moment when we are madly fussing over whether or not we need to buy our child
the toy they “absolutely must have”, 1 billion people in the world
are living on less than $2 per day. Only 30 percent of people in Papua New
Guinea, one of our nearest neighbours, have access to safe drinking water
while only 15 percent of their population have decent sanitation. Things that
we take for granted in Australia are regarded as luxuries in countries like
The US author, Max Lucado, writing on the subject of greed gives us a
disturbing insight into the habits of that most consumerist of nations, the
In 2000, 1 in 5 American families owned three cars or more.
Americans spend more on garbage bags than 90 of
the world’s countries spend on everything!
Americans spend 110 percent of their income on servicing their debt.
Gordon Gecko, the character played by Michael
Douglas in the film Wall Street proudly proclaimed, “Greed is
good!” I prefer Lucado’s advice: it is better to live life by not
“consulting your greed”.
If you think I am trying to lay a guilt trip on you then you have
misunderstood my intent. All I am asking is that you and your family will try
and use this wonderful season of Christmas to gain a little perspective this
year. When you open your presents on Christmas Day or sit down to your
Christmas lunch with family and friends why not take some time to reflect on
the many blessings that you all enjoy?
Read the Christmas story aloud from either
Matthew 1:18-2:23 or Luke 2:1-20.
(We have done this every year as a family).
Share with one another what you are most thankful for in the past
Spend some time thanking God for His undeserved love in placing you in a
country like Australia and for the many freedoms that you enjoy.
Christmas is a great time to put things into perspective. Enjoy your meal
together and the giving and exchanging of gifts — but don’t fret
over the fact that you could not afford the $200 your child’s,
“must have” toy — your child will not be scarred by this!
But the money that you save on that and send to a family that enables them to
buy a filter for clean water will bring real change to their lives; maybe
changed forever. I am not saying don’t give each other gifts; I am
saying, find something in your budget to give something to the poor this
Christmas, some need that touches your heart ... and even if you have to trim
down your gift giving budget to make room for it.
And more than anything else, remember Jesus, the reason why we celebrate this
wonderful season, “who became poor that we might become rich”
— rich in that greatest of all gifts that God freely offers us —
His salvation. This salvation is the forgiveness of our sins which, as
mentioned, is the greatest gift you could ever receive. It is a gift that must
be received by faith. I like the way one writer used faith as an acrostic:
Forsaking All I Trust Him; and as you do
that you will experience the true meaning of Christmas.
May your Christmas be a blessed one!