Four Seasonal Dangers and Strategies

In this season of extreme busyness, we Christians need to stay alert to any potential dangers. I'll mention only four of them . . . along with some strategies that will allow us to combat each risk.

First is the doctrinal danger of substituting the temporal for the eternal. A couple of scriptures give needed counsel here:

Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things . . . . Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Colossians 3:1–2; Romans 12:2 NIV)

It's important that we rivet into our heads exactly what we're celebrating. It is our Savior's arrival, not Santa's. The significance of giving presents is to be directly related to God's presenting us the gift of His Son—and our kiddos need that reminder year in and year out.

Second is the personal danger of impressing but not imparting. We represent the King. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business "in season and out of season." Then let's do it this season! People are wide open to the gospel these days. Forget about trying to impress others by what you buy. Spend more time imparting what you already possess.

Third is the economic danger of spending more than you have. Before every purchase, think. Ask yourself some direct, penetrating questions: Is this within my budget? Is it appropriate? Is it really saying what I want it to say? Gifts you make are often much more appreciated and much less expensive than those you buy. Stretching the dollar usually involves planning ahead. A safe rule to follow is this: if you don't have the cash—don't buy it. For example, my wife and I decided years ago that Christmas cards had to go. No offense, now. That's just an illustration of something God spoke to us about. We found it saved us many dollars and gobs of time.

Finally, there's the psychological danger of getting built up for a letdown. One of the most effective maneuvers of the world system is to create a false sense of excitement. The Christian can get "high" very easily on the crest of Christmas. But the cold that sweeps in on the tail of a fading afterglow can be a dangerous, depressing experience. Guard yourself. Keep a firm hand on the controls. Don't be deceived. Enjoy the 25th . . . but not at the expense of the 26th.

If you stay occupied with the Person, you'll seldom have to fight off the plague. Make Hebrews 12:3 your aim—consider Him. Fill your thoughts and desires and expectations with your unfailing Lord.

When the wrappings and ribbons are in the trashcan and the manger scene is back in the attic and the friends and family have said goodbye and the house feels empty and so do you . . . there is One who waits to fill your heart and renew your hope. He was there on December 24.

He'll be there on the 26th.

The significance of giving presents is to be directly related to God's presenting us the gift of His Son.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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