In the middle of December last year, I went to our daughter's hairdressing salon to get my hair cut and my beard trimmed. It was the middle of the afternoon, and there was no one in the shop. She told me that business was really slow. She commented that it used to be that way in February when the various credit cards were due to be paid, but it seems to have shifted in part to December as well. I asked her why that was, and she told me that she thought that it was because people are out Christmas shopping. Even young children already have so much, and the parents are at a loss what to get them, so a lot of time is taken to go shopping. Big money is spent, and consequently, the service sector, such as hairdressers, suffers.
At suppertime, my wife and I discussed this, and I told her about the time when I was about eight or nine years old, and my parents gave me some liquid paints of various colours in a dozen little glass vials with cork stoppers. My dad had made a nice board drilled with twelve holes partway through into which the little bottles fit. My parents knew that I loved to paint and colour. For months, I painted the cartoon characters in a serial story in the paper, as well as some of my own artwork.
Telling my wife the memories of this brought up a flashback. I could see myself sitting in front of the window colouring and painting, and I became very emotional and teary-eyed. I remembered how happy I was with such a fine gift, and still am as I think about it. How pleased I was, so content and happy with a small gift during perpetual wartime shortages.
The apostle Paul also knew what it was like to live in need:
Philippians 4:12-13 – 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 everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)
The pressure of giving, especially at Christmas time, is such a strain and a burden for so many people. They don't know what to give any more, and there is always the fear that whatever they do give will not be truly appreciated.
Think about it. Are you content with your life? Do you count your blessings? Most of us have so many things to be thankful for.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we bring You our thanks for the good things that we have in our lives and for Your Son Jesus who came to teach us and to save us through faith in Him. We offer this prayer in His name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Angels From The Realms Of Glory" (Lyrics)