Thursday, December 17

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24“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. 25“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? 26Look 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? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But 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? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6: 19-34

Have you looked in your storage room, storage closet or storage shed lately? I went upstairs, opened the door, pulled the dog back and looked in. I just closed the door and said, “Whew, I will get to that later!” I can promise you, when I do get around to it to be sure, there will be loss due to moths, dust or simply old age. I can also be assured that the thieves may break in but they will not want to deal with my mess. Matthew and I differ a bit on that point, but we get his point.

These items are important or have held a place of importance at one time or another and now I have them stored away. It has officially become “treasure.” Where do we have “treasures” stored up in our own lives? As we turn our focus towards the birth of our Savior we have an opportunity to re-evaluate our relationship with the Holy.  Often we can get caught up in the materialism and consumerism that the holiday season brings but these are not the things for which we should strive. We are challenged to strive for God’s righteousness and all else will be added. The Advent season offers us this opportunity.

We have an opportunity to examine how we are in relationship with God. We can ask ourselves the question: Has my relationship with Jesus Christ become something I have put in storage for safe-keeping or do I treat that relationship like the gift that it is.

A gift is wrapped in a lovely package and offered at just the perfect time. A gift brings with it a source of joy and pride. A gift is often a conversation piece which is proudly discussed when others ask about it. A gift can also be enjoyed and passed on to another for their enjoyment, such as a good book.

As we turn our hearts and minds towards Christmas we must meditate upon God’s gift to us. God’s gift was packaged in the body of baby Jesus. Jesus is the light of the world, thus a source of joy. The pride comes in our humility to God. When we place Jesus in the center of our being, those around us see a difference and yes, it becomes a topic of conversation. Because Jesus is with us always, he is there to share with others. Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving.

A prayer for this day:
Gracious God, Thank you for your son Jesus Christ. Thank you for your gift of self here on earth. As we walk towards the celebration of Jesus’ birth please help us to humble ourselves before you to gain a deeper understanding of how grand your gift was and is to us each and every day of our lives. Thank you for the journeys of Mary and Joseph and the lessons we learn from them. Allow us to be selfless enough this holiday season to give the gift of ourselves as your son did for us, in whose name we pray. Amen

Rev. Amantha L. Barbee (M. Div., 2011)
Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, NC

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