Have you ever asked for something at Christmas that you didn’t get?
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV).
Several years ago, I home schooled our two children, which meant that our family lived on one income. We did without many of the wants we had grown accustomed to, but to this day, I can’t recall what any of them were. Those years are some of the best memories we have as a family. I learned an important lesson during that time, though, that I thought I would share today.
You don’t desire what you don’t see.
For three years, we didn’t enter a mall or the movies. We didn’t order magazines. We mostly watched Full House and Joyce Meyer and The 700 Club. My dad was sick and we took him to the VA Hospital for appointments. We would pack sandwiches and stop at the rest area on the interstate for a “picnic.”
My grandmother needed care, so we moved our books and school stuff next door and took care of her. She delighted in “teaching” Bethany spelling, while Bethany learned how to take Grandma’s blood pressure from a home health nurse.
They didn’t get a lot for Christmas–three things, usually–an outfit, a toy, and a book or cd. Always candy in the stockings. But we were content. We weren’t focused on what we didn’t have. And we never did without anything we needed.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Now Josiah is in his third year of college, and Bethany is a senior in high school. I look back and I am so grateful that our children aren’t spoiled and entitled. They don’t ask for much, and they appreciate what they get. Maybe that was what God intended for them to learn in those lean years.
You know, contentment applies to more than just stuff. We can become discontent with our spouses, our jobs, our churches, or anything else; but most of the time that comes from looking at what somebody else has. The secret to contentment is to seek more of Jesus. Seek more of His righteousness. Seek more time with your family. Don’t surround yourself with sights and sounds that will draw your heart toward things you don’t need.
Our battle is always fought first in the mind. We see what we want, we dwell on it, and then we can’t be content unless we have it. So if you want to be content this Christmas, don’t dwell on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have.
“…be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).
If you belong to Jesus, no matter what you don’t have, He is what you do have. And the more we draw near to Him, the more He will draw near to us. He will meet all our needs, and He will bless us with spiritual blessings that far outweigh the trappings of this world.
So, are you looking for contentment this Christmas? Here it is:
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies all your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).
Jesus will satisfy your deepest longings and give you a peace and contentment that money cannot buy. May your Christmas be blessed with less of the gifts and more of the Giver.
How do you find contentment at Christmas?