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The Reason for the Season: Greed?
Bible study on Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but there's a dark side to Christmas we must watch for.

Bleak Picture
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 possible.

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 desires.

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 sin.

  • "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 covetous.

  • "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).

Personal Reflection
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 material possessions.

  • Are material possessions more important than being rich toward God, and laying up treasure in heaven?
  • 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 spiritual things?
  • Do you worry about your material possessions and taking care of them, rather than spiritual things?

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 greedy hearts?
  • 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 life.

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.