I wanted to write about who or what we worship at Christmas; my sister knowing I struggle with writing sent me this message from Paul Tripp. I have edited some of it, but he is far more eloquent in expressing our need for Christ this holiday season.
“Why do we keep acquiring more possessions when we clearly already have enough? Why do we stare into overstuffed closets and tell ourselves that we have nothing to wear? Why do we tend to live in a house way larger than our family truly needs? Why do we get a brand-new car when our current mode of transportation is more than adequate? Why do we eat out so often and eat way more than we need for daily sustenance? Why are we so obsessed about our physical appearance and fitness? Why do we employ modern medical technologies to ward off old age? Why do we invest so much time and money on our vacations? Why are so many of us in debt? Why does illicit sex seduce so many of us? Why do we so often envy what other people have?
The answer is simple. It’s found throughout the Word of God, particularly in the book of Ecclesiastes, and we verify its truth every day with our desires, words, actions, and purchases: we are searching for life. God created us as spiritual beings to have a life-defining, soul-satisfying relationship with him, but the Fall shattered that perfect union. So with groaning souls, as we await the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23), we can’t resist searching elsewhere for identity and contentment. A comfortable house, a new car, a cute outfit, a delicious meal, a relaxing vacation, a gym membership – none are inherently evil. I’m not suggesting that you dump all the pleasurable items and experiences in your life. I will suggest, however, that materialism is capturing our hearts and eating up the time, energy, and resources of our lives (see Matthew 6:19–33, Isaiah 55:2, your calendar, bank account, and sources of anger, anxiety, and excitement).
You and I tend to be captivated and controlled by whatever we think will give us life: we continually make the profound mistake of looking horizontally for what can only be found vertically: earth will never be your Savior, but take heart. The Creator of the heavens and earth is also your “I am with you always” Savior. He meets you with strength in moments when you are weak. He graces you with wisdom in moments when you’re acting like a fool. He fights for your soul even when you don’t fight for yourself.
You don’t have to conceal your materialism in shame. You can run into God’s presence in weakness and failure, knowing you will receive mercy and not judgment.” God bless, Paul Tripp