It happens every year. The kids surround the tree, engulfed by a pile of presents. Their excitement peaks by the first several gifts and quickly wanes as they work through the mass. By the end of the morning they have more things than they know what to do with and they begin looking to each other’s presents and arguing. Mom overschedules the family because there are simply too many good activities to pass up. As Christmas draws near the family burns out and is ready to hole away for a few weeks until the New Year arrives. The stores have stocked their shelves with Christmas items since September thinking the longer they’re out, the better. The customer keeps buying because, well, it’s there. Mind you, I’m no Scrooge. I adore the Christmas season and all of its accoutrements. Yet there comes a point when the effort you expend to create an experience for your loved ones and yourself is greater than the outcome you expected. That’s the law of diminishing returns at work.

Our culture promotes fulfillment through what you own, what you do, or your popularity – of which you can always have more or be more. God’s economy turns that view on its head. Christ says that whoever wants to save their life will lose it! This truth is a pain to our human nature. It wounds us to give up any bit of ourselves for the sake of Christ and others. We naturally cling to what we believe we’re owed so tightly and reason it is not selfish, it’s self-preservation. It’s a result of a belief that our sufficiency is not secured in Christ, but is subject to our circumstances. It manifests itself in a life revolving around fear of missing out and discontentment.

Without Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives there will always be discontentment no matter how much money, health, or prestige we acquire. Let me say it again, contentment is guaranteed to elude you while it is dependent upon your circumstances. It must be dependent upon God’s provision according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. If you have never believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, that is the first step. Then, moment by moment, you must continually submit your will to His own through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is only when this happens that you will find yourself satisfied and free from anxiety.

It is as easy for me to write these words as it is for you to read them. Hearing or telling someone to be content requires no sacrifice. Contentment isn’t caught, it’s learned. Every new morning brings with it a multitude of opportunities to practice contentment; to practice receiving God’s grace and power instead of our circumstances. If the lure of more of this earth calls to you this Christmas season, look instead to more of Him. Jesus is the only gift whose return is greater the more He is experienced.

“Contentment: Not passive acceptance of status quo but positive assurance in God’s supply!”