Christmas is my favorite holiday, but there's
a dark side to Christmas we must watch
Thanksgiving is over, and we begin the push toward
Christmas, the time of year when greed is prevalent
in society, marked by the Black Friday stampede.
Christmas is the time of year when retailers
make a lion's share of sales and profits, bombarding
us with ads and incentives to spend as much as
And it's the time of year when many children
unthankfully rip into presents so fast they forget
the last present, rushing to be surprised and
anticipating the adrenaline of fulfilling fleshly
Shrewd as Serpents
I've painted a discouraging picture of the winter
holiday season, especially as it's observed in
the richest nation of the world.
But it's important for us to realize the state
of our society, as we do our best to live as Christians,
and bring up our children in the training and
admonition of the Lord.
To be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves
(Matt. 10:16), we must understand the world in
which we live, and understand what people are
trying to do.
We must understand that people are trying to
make us as greedy as possible, and spend more
money than we should, so they'll profit from our
- "Many will follow their sensuality,
and because of them the way of the truth will
be maligned; and in their greed they will
exploit you with false words; their judgment
from long ago is not idle, and their destruction
is not asleep" (2 Pet. 2:2-3).
Warning Against Greed
Jesus warns us not to be greedy (covetous).
- "Then He said to them, 'Beware, and
be on your guard against every form of greed;
for not even when one has an abundance does
his life consist of his possessions'" (Lk. 12:15).
In Luke 12:15 the Greek word pleonexia
is translated "greed" in some translations,
and covetousness in others. It means the desire
to have more, in a bad sense.
Paul tells us greed, the desire to have more
in a bad sense, amounts to idolatry.
- "Therefore consider the members of your earthly
body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion,
evil desire, and greed, which amounts to
idolatry" (Col. 3:5).
And in Luke 12, Jesus gives two examples of
this sinful desire (greed) that amounts to idolatry.
One man wanted Jesus to tell his brother to
divide the family inheritance with him; and the
other was a man who had a bountiful harvest and
decided to tear down existing barns to build new
barns so he could take his ease and eat, drink,
and be merry.
God said to the second man, "'You fool! This
very night your soul is required of you; and now
who will own what you have prepared'" (Lk. 12:20).
Then Jesus teaches from the parable, saying,
"So is the man who stores up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God" (Lk. 12:21).
Greed not Proper for Saints
Greed is a sin, and not proper for saints.
- "But immorality or any impurity or greed
must not even be named among you, as is proper
among saints" (Eph. 5:3).
Saints are thankful, rather than greedy and
- "But immorality or any impurity or greed
must not even be named among you, as is
proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness
and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are
not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
For this you know with certainty, that no
immoral or impure person or covetous man, who
is an idolater, has an inheritance in
the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph. 5:3-5).
As Christians, we are storing up treasure in
heaven. Rather than being greedy, we are concerned
about doing the will of God and worshiping Him.
False Teachers use Greed to Entice People
As Christians, we don't observe Christmas in the
church since there is no authority for the holiday.
Christmas has its roots in Catholicism, which
borrowed some traditions from pagans to entice
them to become Catholics.
We should expect, then, that there are some
worldly and fleshly components to Christmas. And
of course, greed and covetousness are centerpieces
in what Christmas has become.
We know from God's word that greed is used by
false teachers and false religions to entice people
away from God. And that's exactly what we see
at Christmas time.
- "They count it a pleasure to revel in the
daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling
in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,
having eyes full of adultery that never cease
from sin, enticing unstable souls, having
a heart trained in greed, accursed children"
(2 Pet. 2:13b-14).
So, this is a good time of year for personal reflection.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it's
also a time when people are involved in rampant
sin, perhaps more than at any other time of year.
Take time to think about your Christmas traditions,
and the things you are teaching by your life.
And think about your attitude toward gifts and
- Are material possessions more important than
being rich toward God, and laying up treasure
- Is school or your job more important than
assembling with saints, and working in the kingdom?
- Do you think about money, buying gifts, and
getting gifts a lot, but think very little about
- Do you worry about your material possessions
and taking care of them, rather than spiritual
And as parents, we must also think about what
we're doing to our children.
- Are our children spoiled?
- If so, isn't that a sign of our own personal
greed, and that we're training them to have
- Are our children irresponsible because we're
lavishing them with so many gifts they don't
have to take responsibility for themselves?
- Are our children unthankful?
- Do they have to have the best?
- Is their identity and self worth associated
with their worldly possessions?
- Do our children associate with the poor,
or look down on the poor.
Christmas is a great time of year, but also a
time when the sin of greed is a normal way of
As Christians, we must be careful not to be
caught up in sin of any kind, and aware of the
rampant greed at Christmas time.
Finally, we must be diligent to train our children
in the ways of God so they're not greedy, and
teach them how to live in a world where most everyone
else is greedy.