The Temptation at Christmastime

The Temptation at Christmastime December 24, 2012

The Temptation at Christmastime

The Temptation at Christmastime

“The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’ ” The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.” When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:2–6, The Message)

The first temptation in the Garden of Eden was this: “realizing what I would get out of it.” The temptation Eve found was that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a tree that tempted her with the fruit of “being like God.” In other words, the temptation is to see what I can get without trusting God.

The same temptation that happened to Eve around her tree, can happen around every Christmas tree during Christmastime. We look at the tree all decorated and shiny. We look at the gifts under the tree and we anticipate not what others are getting this year, but what we are getting this year. That is the temptation at Christmastime for us. The temptation to look out for ourselves.

What does God say about this temptation? Look beyond what you can get out of it. Look to Me this Christmastime. What are those gifts under the tree? God says: “They are gifts I have provided”. What is this time we call Christmas? God says: “It is my time I have given to you to remember my Son, as well as bless you with a time to celebrate together with friends and family.”

What is Christmas? Christmas is not about me. It is about Jesus. The temptation at Christmastime is to make it about me, my friends, my family, my stuff that I get. The temptation at Christmastime is to make it not a time of giving to others, but of giving to myself. It is a subtle temptation because even in the gift-giving, instead of enjoying how others enjoy receiving the gifts, I can easily start to “realize what I would get out of it” by saying to myself (and even others) “look at me.” Look at the gifts that I gave which others are unwrapping. Look at me, I received this special gift from someone.

This temptation can also work the other way around, in a negative way. We can easily turn Christmas into a pity party about me. “Oh, woe is me.” “I miss someone,” or “I’m not getting what I want.” We can easily turn a celebration into a pity party and become a party pooper. No one wants to be around someone like that.

Enjoying Christmas together with others is not the same as making Christmas all about me. Christmas is not about me. It is about Jesus, the ultimate Gift of God. Overcome the temptation to make Christmas a selfish act by remembering Him.

Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash

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