Friday – November 29, 2013; Matthew 6:24-34

“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Today is called “Black Friday” here in the USA; it is the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season, when stores offer deep discounts (including “door-busters”) in order to encourage shoppers to buy their Christmas presents from them!

Black Friday begins a frenzy of shopping that continues on through the holiday season, as people seek to buy the most for the least, and come up with the most perfect presents, most perfect deals, and therefore (it is hoped), the most perfect holidays…

It can be a very chaotic and in some cases even a violent day, which now starts as early as the night of Thanksgiving, and includes the sight of people camping out for bargains, or getting up in the early hours of the morning to rush to the store.

Black Friday is in part fueled by the image of the holidays that we see portrayed so beautifully in movies and on television shows, and in especially advertisements – yet it is an ideal that few of us would ever be able to live up to, and if we try to reach that goal, the holidays can quickly become a stressful and expensive time of year for us; and a sad time for those of us who are already struggling to make ends meet.

It can also be a difficult time for those of us who are missing the presence of some of the people who used to make the holidays special for us; whether someone has passed away, or has left our lives…

In our culture we can get so caught up in the who commercial side of the holidays that it is easy to lose sight of what the holidays mean, as it seems like it becomes more about the pursuit of the perfect present, the perfect party and perfect Holiday season; and for many businesses…the pursuit of profits, even to the detriment of their employees.

Many have become so focused on what we can buy/get (or make), the true spirit of this holiday becomes lost in the fray…

As Christmas is not about the presents or the profit, but about the gift we have all been given.

Putting our focus on the true meaning of Christmas, can make our lives less stressful and the season more enjoyable; especially for those of us on a budget; we can keep it simple by enjoying the spirit of the holiday with our children, family and friends; celebrating the fulfillment of God’s promise to us, in the gift of the baby Jesus, and in the new life given to us in the resurrection!

By keeping this holiday season simple, we can make the most of the celebration, and leave out the stress and the tension, as we share together the greatest gift of all: the love that God has for us, and that we have for one another, as we move through life together, in the light of the risen Christ!

And this is the gift that only grows, the more we share it with the world, and with all those who walk in darkness, and need this light in their lives, like those who are struggling financially, or is missing a loved one.  For it only makes our holidays better when we can make someone else’s life brighter, and it is a good example to show to our children as well, as it teaches them how we can truly celebrate the gift of Christmas.

Let us Pray

God thank you for always taking care of us as we are all your children.  Thank you for giving us the resources and support to manage life as single parents.  Please help us to remember the reason for the season, and to keep our holidays’ simple and true, focusing on the great gift of love you have given to the world; and then sharing this light those who are in need of the hope of Christ in their lives.

Amen 

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