By Dan Woods
Thanksgiving has come & gone. December is upon us & now we begin to worry in earnest about the plans, presents, programs, & practices that typically eat up so much of our energy during the last month of the year. My Christmas tree, mantle & doors are all trimmed, & each of my 50 nutcrackers is standing at attention in my non-functioning fireplace. Don’t be envious, though. I still have to make sure that I have sufficient & equal gifts for all of our grandchildren. And I have bought practically no presents yet for the adults in our family (or if I did, I can’t remember where I hid them).
But these tasks are not what weigh heavy on my soul as December dawns. I have been so burdened in recent weeks to pray that each of us as leaders in our local churches will set a godly example this year by modeling how to celebrate a Christian Christmas. There is the competition, of course: the world’s stressful festival of commercialism that they call Christmas tugs at all of us. Our Thanksgiving has already been invaded by stores offering lucrative deals on “must-have” merchandise, and it says much about our culture that BLACK FRIDAY attracts far more worshipers than GOOD FRIDAY. Now that December is here, the lying spirit of Consumer Christmas will only increase, telling us that we can win acceptance & love with material objects—even if we have pile desperation upon desperation by depleting our “rainy day fund” to buy what is expected or by charging hundreds of dollars to our credit cards or even by dipping into the tithe envelope to “buy a good Christmas.” Our entrapment by this lie is well documented by James A. Roberts in his book Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy. But I imagine that you did not need a book to prove to you the hold this delusion has on so many people.
Jesus came to earth that first Christmas to set us free from the penalty of sin & every lie of the Devil. The only people with the power to change our current holiday back into a holy-day are found in the Church. May we as leaders throughout the Cornerstone Conference show our people in word & deed how to celebrate & enjoy a truly Christian Christmas.
Daily Prayer Emphases for December:
- SUNDAY – Pray for Jesus to be the center of attention in each of our churches today.
- MONDAY – Pray for the Lord to direct and empower our Cornerstone Conference officials as they lead us forward in “Kingdom Expansion” through church revitalization, planting, & adoption.
- TUESDAY – Pray that our church folks will not try to buy happiness this Christmas with material objects.
- WEDNESDAY –Pray for our people to be driven by an overpowering hunger to see people saved, sanctified, delivered, & discipled.
- THURSDAY – Pray for people you know who have lost a loved one since last Christmas.
- FRIDAY – Pray for our President, the members of Congress, and the Supreme Court to be friends of Israel, the innocent, and the institution of marriage.
- SATURDAY – Pray for our church folks not to “rob Peter to pay Paul” this Christmas by stealing from their future (savings), their solvency (credit cards), or their Lord (tithes & pledged offerings).
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