It’s already January 7 and for some, the excitement of Christmas with all of its busyness is a thing of the past. For many the thrill of the season hit the floor along with the wrapping paper and unless food found its way to the freezer, leftovers have since dried up or gone south. If you have children, especially young ones, toys or games may already be limping along on one leg. With the tree and all the decorations as well as the outside lights put away, does the house feel empty? Does facing the New Year seem a bit daunting?

I’m not putting on my Scrooge face, nor am I reprising the role of the Grinch who stole Christmas. I’m just wondering why in January we often feel the need to take a deep breath and soldier on for another twelve months. Nothing seems to last forever, not even the excitement of the holidays. If we’re not careful, we could find ourselves in a place we don’t want to go. Here is the way out of an otherwise gloomy situation. Check the expiration date on your gifts.

These days everything seems to come with a “use by” date. After that, all bets are off. Are we looking for excitement and happiness from something with a short shelf-life? Admittedly there are things we need and I’m not talking about those must-have items. I’m thinking about the things that are optional, the spur-of-the-moment items we want in order to feel good. Contentment didn’t come in a box this past Christmas. If you thought it did, check the expiration date.

Jesus entreats us to store up treasures in heaven because the things of this world will not endure. He says in Matthew 6:21, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God has given each of us gifts that should fill our hearts with such joy that we explode with gratitude: His gift of communicating with us through His Word, the gift of meeting our needs and helping us live in fellowship with Him though the indwelling Holy Spirit, and of course, the gift of His love and salvation delivered to us by Jesus, the Christmas baby.

These gifts from God won’t expire so there is no need to check the date. We should also treasure the daily gifts God gives us such as good friends, warm homes, and enjoying His creation. Perhaps it’s those rambunctious grandkids (or the quiet house when they go home) or unconditional love from a pet, good health, or God’s help through the not so good days.

There is also another aspect of storing up treasures. It’s not just what we get, but what we give. God has given us His Word, but are we committed to faithfully reading it? Perhaps this is the year to prayerfully read God’s Word and consider not only what it’s saying to you but how share it. What about investing in the lives of others by helping them or just giving them a smile and friendly greeting? Most importantly, invest in your relationship with the One who loves you more than you will ever know. Spend time with Him and be intentional about giving God praise. Worship Him with others as well as in the quiet places of your heart.

What things do you treasure more than anything else? Will those treasures fill you with joy during the coming year? Dare to invest in the eternal: in God, His Word and in people. Pour your heart into what will last—without an expiration date.