Thanksgiving has traditionally been a holiday dedicated to family and thankfulness for what we already have, but now it seems to be about cutting family time short to go get more stuff. We have Black Friday and now Black Thursday as well. To what extent should the material aspects of the holidays factor into our celebrations?
A ‘Wholehearted’ Holiday
We are told that where our treasure is, there also will be our heart. Thus, we need to look to Jesus for our treasure.
This doesn’t nullify the value of material goods. Rather, it reminds us of the primacy of heavenly things. God created for us a material world – one that he called good! – through which we can learn more about him.
In Wholehearted, Dr. Scott Redd writes about the importance of the Shema to our understanding of Scripture. In Deuteronomy, Moses calls us to a covenant with a God who desires first our hearts.
This pattern of taking God’s name into our hearts, expressing it through our selves, and displaying it with our strength in all that we do is repeated throughout the Old Testament and echoed in the New Testament, too.
We are created to create. How we use our creations reflects the health of our relationship with God. Greed and miserliness speak of a suffering connection to him.
We need to continually recall to mind the purpose for which our things have been given us. They are a picture of the abundance God has promised to us, but they are not God.
Ways to Be ‘Wholehearted’ This Holiday Season
What are some ways we can worship God with our whole being and possessions in this holiday season?
- Remember that redemption is not just spiritual. Christ experienced the physical nature of our world in a similar way to us, and he called it good. We will eventually be given new bodies, but God will use our current ones for his glory and our good, even during this life.
- Practice gratitude. We’ve been blessed with amazing prosperity, much of which has been generated through entrepreneurship made possible by free markets and favorable institutions.
- Give generously and resourcefully. As in everything, let us give with a heart attuned to God’s will for the needs around us. If we have been given much, let us give much. But, as we reach out to others, let us be careful to enable others to arrive at a place of greater prosperity because of broadened skills and resources.
How do you balance the spiritual and material aspects of the holidays?