December 24 I Monday
“No one can serve two masters.… You cannot serve both God and Money.” —Matthew 6:24
Herod the Great looked for hope in all the wrong places. He is called “the Great” because he supervised various building projects, some of which still stand today. As for his character, he had multiple wives whom he treated poorly, and he was obsessed with power. He was constantly stamping out what he thought were conspiracies to steal his throne, including having two of his own sons executed. Above all, Herod was ruled by greed and materialism, by a desire for more buildings, more wives, more power and more control.
Sadly, these attitudes of greed and materialism are especially present at this time of year. For over a month, advertisers have been promoting the latest and greatest gifts and toys. Some of us will spend today braving the malls one last time to find those perfect gifts for our friends and family. Many children will be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, ready to open their gifts or play with what they receive tonight. Gift giving and receiving can be a time of great joy, excitement and family bonding, but we must not root our hope in the material things we gather at Christmas or throughout the year. The
endless search for more will only leave us wanting more, and any excitement we feel after getting something new always wears off.
This Herod-like attitude of wanting more, more, more is also dangerous because it ignores that God is our provider. When we make a habit of borrowing hordes of money to purchase things, it is as if we are saying to God, “Your provision is not quite enough. I just need this new thing, and since you aren’t providing fast enough, I will borrow from someone else.” The danger of debt is it can make money our master, and we cannot serve both God and money.
We should by all means look forward to giving gifts at Christmas and seeing the joy it brings others. But when we compare Herod’s insatiable appetite for more with how Christ humbly entered His creation as a baby born in a stable, does it not capture our attention? These two kings could not have been more different, and we may need to ask ourselves which king we are serving this Christmas. More important than the gifts we receive tomorrow is whether we have received Christ into our lives, who will never leave us nor forsake us. The message of Christmas is that God Himself extends His hand and invites us to enjoy the freedom and fulfillment of knowing Christ, the greatest and longest-lasting gift we will ever receive.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help me be content this Christmas with what I have, grateful for what I receive and focused first on the gift of Your Son. Thank You, God.