Christmas Contentment

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for a child, especially at school. I remember being really nervous about Secret Santa or Secret Angel gift exchanges.

What if I draw the name of a girl? Argh! How do I know what a girl wants? And what if the girl likes the presents and thinks I like her for some reason? Double argh!

What if I get the name of someone who doesn't like me? Do I have to get that person good presents?

And what if my name is picked by someone who doesn't like me? Will I get anything?

What if my name is picked by a girl who likes me? Maybe I'll get good presents, but how embarrassing is that, huh?

Maybe I will be lucky and draw the teacher's name and my best friend will pick my name. Yes! Oh, please, God, make it so.

As you can see, Secret Santa or Angel time produced a lot of anxiety in my schoolboy soul. Added to this stress was the keen despair that occurred when (unknown to me) my Secret Santa was absent or broke and I did not get a gift on the first day. The thoughts that ran through my mind then!

Does my Secret Santa hate me? Am I going to get nothing at all? Should I act like I don't care?

Should I complain to the class at large to make my delinquent giver feel guilty? Am I going to be the student everyone feels bad for, the one who gets the pity gifts from his classmates like unwanted candy canes, fruit center chocolates, and Chips Ahoy cookies?

Or should I delude myself with false hope that my Secret Santa is saving up to buy me just one expensive, incredible gift in the end?

It's sad that we can derive so much of our happiness and even our identity from the giving and receiving of gifts. I am glad that I am old enough to get beyond the gift trip that the world, my flesh, and the devil lay on me. Nowadays, I am happy to just be able to spend time with my family at Christmas, eat a good meal, and bask in the comfortable warmth that is family. I love to give gifts, but I am glad that my family and friends would love me just the same even if I could not give them anything but my love and friendship. What does the verse in Hebrews 13:5 say? "Be content with such things as you have." I hate how the devil has twisted Christmas from a season of joy, peace, and goodwill into a season of discontentment.

It is my hope that we can teach our children divine contentment, the kind that comes from the second part of the aforementioned verse which says, "For He himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" With Christ, we experience godliness with contentment and that is great gain - what more do we need to satisfy the true needs of our souls?

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