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Keeping God First

As I write this we are just a couple of days from Christmas. Christmas this year will be different because of the Coronavirus. However, no matter how different your celebration is, it will still be Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We can still rejoice at the words of the angel to the shepherds, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord” (Luke 2:11). Thanks be to God.

Are you ready for Christmas? Have you completed your shopping? Gift giving is an important part of Christmas for many. However, we pray that it not be about things but the love expressed in the giving.

How about decorating? Do the decorations you use reflect your faith in Jesus? Evergreen trees remind us of everlasting life. The tree points up to Heaven. Lights on the trees and houses remind us that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12).

Christmas is not about material things. Remember what Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). Material things are neither good or bad. It is our attachment to them that can lead us away from God. Paul expresses this well in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.

We live in a multicultural society. We are called to tolerance and pluralism of different cultures and beliefs. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as the second greatest commandment. We are to love all, not just those who believe the same thing as we do. However, we must keep to our faith for the greatest commandment is to love God. We must hold to the truth that Jesus brings.

Who do we go to for help? Ultimately, it should be God that we turn to. However, that does not exclude human help as long as we keep God first. We can turn to friends and neighbors for help. We can turn to churches and non-profits for help. We can also turn to government for help.

Governments exist for the good of their people. We should be able to turn to our governments for help. However, one should consider the attitude we do this with. Do we expect the government to fix everything with blind trust in them? Do we expect the government to bail us out and set aside our faith in the process?

Do you put God first in your life?

Who is God to you?

Is God part of every day of your life or just someone you go to in times of trouble? God is always there for us when we are in trouble. God is always with us when things are going well. Do we thank God for the good things?

Some people have taking the “god” out of God, meaning they believe there is a superior being who created the universe (this is often called the “Intelligent Design” approach to the creation of the universe. However, for them, god is not all-powerful and/or all-knowing. He is simply more powerful and intelligent than we are. Some who think this way think god no longer exists or that he no longer cares about us.

In faith, we know and believe that God is indeed all-powerful and all-knowing. God created the universe and still cares for it and his people today. God does this because He loves us.

Governments do not have all the answers. It is God who has all the answers. If we are to be God’s people, it is God who we must turn to for the truth. As we read in John 8:31-32, “Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Where do you go for truth? To family? To friends? To society? To governments? They may all think they have the answers but each is limited in what they know just as we are as humans.

It is God who has the answers we seek, the answers we need in order to truly live.

Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

One Comment

  1. Carmella says:

    Thank you, Father for this article. In the frantic days before the holiday we often forget the truth of Christmas. We need to be reminded to stop looking around and to look up!

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