Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10
However, we also need to be thankful for the good gifts that God has given us to enjoy, and not to think that some kind of religious asceticism is what we are called to as followers of Jesus.
Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19
With Christmas coming up, I have been considering what this means for us as a family. In many ways, it is clear that the greatest danger in our culture today is a love of money.
Every advert, every shop window, every email from a retailer gives the same lie: buy this, get this, have the perfect Christmas and the perfect gifts, and you will be happy. Sickness and sin and squabbling are banished from the images we are presented of a perfect Christmas.
Deep down we know it isn't true, but we spend and spend anyway.
OR - we don't, and feel a little smug.
We think that we really understand about Christmas, and think that people who spend money on a Christmas tree which will be dead in a week, or on presents, or luxury food are a little bit silly.
We don't get it, and don't get people who do enjoy Christmas fun.
As ever - it is our hearts that matter.
Huge turkey or modest chicken? Who cares!
£200 a child or £20 a child? Doesn't matter!
Real tree or cheap plastic tree reused 20 times? Whatever you prefer.
So long as you remember Jesus.
Forgiveness from sin.
The promise that one day all hurts will be healed - forever.
Riches that last.
So - we can celebrate! We can feast and share gifts because we remember Jesus - the great giver, the greatest gift. We can feast now and look forward to the feast - the Wedding of the Lamb.
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will remember that all the stuff in the world cannot bring the joy and salvation that only God can give (no wonder the Bible describes greed as idolatry).
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, then we will have no shame in enjoying the good things that God has given us, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11