Christmas is Over. Now What?
Richard Franz (guest columnist)
Did you go Christmas shopping this year? Did you spend money you have not yet earned on items that probably will not fill anyone’s needs, and will only temporarily satisfy a selfish envy or greed? Do you feel like Christmas is more about spending money than spending time with God and family?
Consumer counseling agencies anticipate a 25 percent increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February. Most of that traffic is driven to their doors by holiday bills that haunt consumers like the ghost of Christmas past.
According to ABC News, “The debt industry—and it is an industry—has persuaded people that their ‘wants’ are ‘needs’ and that if you really care for someone, you’ll spend more money on them.”
We are in the home stretch of this year’s holiday spending season, and an incredible 13 million Americans are still paying for last year’s shopping.
According to a study performed by the American Research Group, Inc., Americans will spend more money on gifts in 2012 than last year. In 2011, the average American spent $646 on holiday gifts. In 2012, the average American is expected to spend $854. It should come as no surprise that the average cost of gifts is so high. With advertisements for big sales everywhere, there is a greater chance for impulse buys and overspending. Additionally, rising from a period of economic turmoil, many Americans may be more willing to spend this year after years of scrimping.
Getting caught up with the so-called Christmas spirit entices many people to out-do the next guy in spending and giving, even if the “next guy” is you. Many shoppers are seduced to use credit cards rather than cash. The whole idea of “buy now pay later” has an irresistible allure to many shoppers. However the math used in such logic does not “pay off.” According to the United States Federal Reserve, with monthly payments of $200, it will take you 54 years to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt at an interest rate of 19 percent. During that time, you will pay $35,198 in interest on your $10,000 balance.
Is it all worth it? Is there any value at all? Are there spiritual lessons we learn each year from the various “holiday” activities that steal our time? If we are willing to face facts, the answers are no, no and no! After all, we know that Santa is a fairy tale, Christmas is not in the Bible and all the holiday trimmings have their origins in paganism. In truth, the Jesus Christ of the Bible is not the reason for this season.
If you want to know “What Would Jesus Do?,” read the gospel accounts of His life in the Holy Bible. Shocking as it may be to some, neither Matthew, Mark, Luke or John record the date of Jesus’ birth—nor any celebration associated with it.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary correctly defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Many people justify celebrating Christmas on the pretext of honoring Christ, but Jesus would certainly not approve of Christmas and its adopted pagan traditions in any form or fashion. For those who are still tempted to “add” a Christmas celebration, consider God’s plain instruction, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32), a warning the Apostle John echoes at the end of Revelation (Revelation 22:18).
Jesus Christ commands us to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). Jesus defines truth as the very word of God (John 17:17; Matthew 4:4). Instead of inventing our own holidays to worship God, Jesus asks, “why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
God’s word reveals His purpose for all mankind. What God has in store for those who strive to live by His every word and faithfully obey Him is light years beyond what any Christmas story can ever offer.
If you want to learn more about God’s Holy Days, and His plan for you and all of humanity, download or order our booklets The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan and Your Ultimate Destiny, and watch the Tomorrow’s World telecast, “Christmas: the Missing Message.”