As the song says, soon it will be Christmas Day. I have to tell you, I am a confirmed Christmas junkie. I love this season. For me, the year isn’t complete until I drink some eggnog, watch Ralphie get his BB gun and George Bailey find ZuZu’s petals, and sing Joy the World and Hark the Herald Angels Sing about a hundred times. I say that because what I am about to say is going to make me sound like a Grinch. But here it is: In a week and a half, when you open your presents on Christmas morning, please know that nothing you open is going to make you happy. Oh, some presents you receive will probably delight you. If you are lucky enough to get one of those nice cars with a big red bow on them—like they show in those Satanic commercials—I am sure this will be a Christmas to remember for you. But guess what? That car won’t last. If you sold it on December 26, you’d get a mere fraction of what your dutiful spouse paid for it in the first place. Even if there was a true Christmas miracle and you got something more than a trinket or a toy…even if a lonely single person met Mr. or Ms. Right, or a poor person got a better-paying job, or a chronically sick person suddenly got well…those things in and of themselves wouldn’t bring lasting happiness. After all, Mr. or Ms. Right would quickly prove to be all-too-human. That uptick in your income will be nice for a while, but you’ll find all that extra money doesn’t go nearly as far as you thought it would. And physical healing is nice, but these earthly bodies will wear out eventually, anyway. So Merry Christmas! Actually, I have a Christmas gift for all of you this morning. The Word of God tells us about the gift that keeps on giving, a treasure that brings true, lasting happiness. Let’s consider Proverbs 15:15-17, All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
Keep in mind, the guy who wrote those words was the richest man in the world at the time. He was talking about contentment, a subject that most of us know little about and rarely (if ever) consider. But contentment is a key virtue of the Christian life--as we'll see Sunday when we take a look at 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Philippians 4:10-13. Not only that, contentment leads to a happy life, free from the grasping and envy that is common to our current rat race existence. Come to Westbury Sunday, and we'll talk about how to live a life that is a continual feast.