Weekly Devotionals – 19 December 2022

How quickly things change! In the familiar account of the Rich Man and Lazarus we see how quickly the tables have been turned. The rich man indulged himself in luxury without a care or concern for others, including the poor beggar who laid outside his gate. In mere moments, the rich man is pleading for Lazarus to bring a fingertip portion of water to cool his tormented tongue while Lazarus is eternally comforted. Think of it! The rich man was now longing for something that to us would seem so trivial.

The above account is not a typical scripture that we share during the Christmas Season, but there are lessons to be learned. How often do we take the simple pleasures in life for granted. In reflecting upon Christmas’s of old, I am reminded of the joys of family as we celebrated the birth of our Lord and Saviour. It’s so easy today to lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas.

Scrooge-A Christmas Carol

In the Christmas classic tale of “Scrooge”, we see a miserly old man being brought back to a time of Christmas Past. There is a sense of joy and excitement as Scrooge reflects upon some of his childhood memories. Like Scrooge, life can take a turn as we grow older and we become entwined with the affairs of daily life. It’s easy to gradually become indifferent towards things that really matter. The rich man in the above story did not have the luxury of a 2nd chance. Scrooge, in his later revelations, was given the opportunity to witness Christmas through the eyes of others. It helped him gain a perspective beyond himself. Finally, he was shown his awaited fate should he was not be willing to change. In this story, Scrooge had mercy extended to him. He was allowed a change to change his perspective, which in the end, changed his course in life.

King Solomon’s Lament

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God (Ecclesiastes 2:24).

The Book of Ecclesiastes is filled with several examples where Solomon is able to put things in a proper perspective. A simple meal with family is to be desired more than anything the world has to offer (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, 22, 5:18, and 8:15). In his earlier years, Solomon had everything the world could offer. He also had the means to indulge in every pleasure known to man, due to his enormous wealth. How did he sum up the matter? All is vanity! At the end of his life, he was a miserable man. He took the simple blessings of life for granted, which resulted in growing alienation from God.

A Christmas Perspective

The stories of the Rich Man, Scrooge, and Solomon highlight an important point for us to make the best of this Christmas season. Do we really have “Joy” as we sing the Christmas classic “Joy to the World”? Do you have special memories of Christmas’s from long ago that bring a smile to your face? Most importantly, do we reflect upon the Good News that a Saviour was born in Bethlehem for the sins of all mankind? Our world today is filled with a gloom and doom mentality that infects all layers of society. Make the decision for you, your household, and others that the new year will be different. Be intentional with the time spent with family and outreach, as opposed to being overly consumed with self. The perspective we carry today will have a direct bearing on our eternal destiny.

Remember, God sees things from a much different perspective (Isaiah 55:8-9). Enjoy this Christmas Season with family and friends and be sure to give thanks for the many blessings that God has poured into your life. In addition, be proactive in being a blessing to others, especially towards those in need. This simple act alone will bring a fresh perspective as to what really matters.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me (Matthew 25:40). this Sabbath!

Monday: Matthew 6:33-34
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Tuesday: Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday: Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thursday: Psalm 39:5
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah

Friday: 2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Saturday: Luke 2:32
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Sunday: 1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 

All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Tim O’Connell