Are you sure?

“I gotta get one of those!”

No, you don’t. What is it this time? New phone, watch, TV, computer, clothes, jewelry, car, house, drone, toy, game system, electronic gadget, ugly sweater …?

In a world where stuff seems to really matter, how big a pile do we need?

If we’re not wearing, watching, driving, playing, or using the latest and coolest items, will our lives really suffer?

I’ve heard this before. So have you. In the frenzy of these days prior to Christmas, it is common to hear or feel the tension of gift-selecting, purchasing, and sometimes returning. We do weird things this time of year. We try to keep up with the Joneses. We spend more than we have. We stand in lines with other desperate people who wish they had ordered online. We open gifts that steal our breath and we put on an Academy Award-worthy performance when we pretend “It’s just what I wanted!” We shop for people we can’t stand any other time of the year. We give out of guilt or obligation. Out of frustration and lack of creativity, we give gift cards because we either don’t have time or can’t come up with something better. Some people have the ability of beautifully wrapping their gifts. Others, like me, cover their gifts. Some of us have panic attacks because we cannot remember if we removed the price tags. Some of us leave the tags on intentionally to prove how much we spent. Many of us need secretaries and accountants at this time of year, so we can:

  • Try to keep tabs on our spending
  • Remember what we gave person X last year
  • Remember what person X gave us last year
  • Remember if we gave the same gift we received last year
  • Remember to make a list so we can write “thank-you” notes before next Christmas

I sound a bit “Scroogey” I know. Christmas is a time of giving and, yes, getting. I do wish I could be more like the Apostle Paul who wrote the Philippians: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to get along happily whether I have much or little. I have learned to be content.”

I also need to remember the meaning of this blessed time of year. I need to remember the first Christmas gift. I think Rick Warren said it best: “God’s Christmas gift to you has three qualities that make it unique. First, it is the most expensive gift you’ll ever receive. It’s priceless. Jesus paid for it with His life. Second, it’s the only gift you’ll ever receive that will last forever. Finally, it is an extremely practical gift – one you can use every day for the rest of your life.”

When we’re giving gifts this year, let’s keep the first gift in mind. It’s the perfect gift for every person.

This entry was posted in Commentary and tagged , on by .

About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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