Tis the season to be covetous. . . I know you thought I was going to say “to be jolly” because that’s how the song goes, but as I really paid attention to this season I recognize that Christmas has become a season of covetousness. Covetous is from the root word covet, which means to desire, want, long for, yearn for, crave. I have seen magazine covers advertise dresses to “lust for.” I’ve heard commercials say that if you buy this people will envy you. And many of us have heard the saying “you will be the talk of the town” if you have this. With the promotions to buy has come the targeting of man’s base nature. We all are vulnerable to our fleshy desires.
Many Christians recognize that Christmas has become commercialized, where the emphasis is on buying things and not recognizing the gift, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have combated that by sending out Christmas cards with the message of Christ and limiting the amount spent on and the number of Christmas gifts given. But even with these limitations, we have to make sure that we still are not guilty of covetousness. Sure, it is okay to desire certain things, but are the things you desire the things God would have you to desire? Let’s check our heart against the following scripture:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor (Deuteronomy 5:21).
Do you want a new coat, car, clothes and toys for the children because your neighbor (sister or brother in Christ, co-worker, nieces and nephews, etc.) has those things? Do you want certain items because you believe obtaining them will give you the status of your neighbor? Do you sacrifice to buy because you want people to covet after what you have? Would having the things you want make you haughty? Answering yes to any question makes you guilty of covetousness.
But God tells us to covet the best gifts and to prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:31, 14:39). Of all the gifts from God we know that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is right at the top. Let us covet Jesus, a relationship with him, deep fellowship with him, and an attitude like his. Let us covet to prophesy about his goodness and what the gift of Jesus means to the entire world. Truly let us go beyond rejecting commercialism to also rejecting covetousness. Let not “remember the reason for the season” simply be an adage from our lips but love from our hearts that shows in speaking and teaching about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and what his gift to the world provides, which is redemption for all those who receive him.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith