Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014 “I Want This and This, and This…”

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day Everyone!

What do you want for Christmas?” At this time of year, this is a question many parents will ask their children,most of whom are not at all hesitant in expressing their desires. Some of their Christmas lists are quite reasonable, and parents are happy to fulfill their particular desires. Others, however, may include a seemingly unending list of extravagant indulgences with every expectation that these desires will be fulfilled by “Santa”, or by parents who wrongfully believe that it is somehow necessary to fulfill every whim. In the classic story of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, we find such a character named Veruca Salt, who demands of her over-indulgent father that her every whim be satisfied. In one scene from the film based on the book, Veruca discovers a proverbial goose that lays golden eggs. She demands that her father purchase one of these geese for her. In Wonka’s factory, these golden eggs are placed on a scale that determines whether or not they are “good eggs” or bad eggs”. Bad eggs are rejected and dropped down a chute for their disposal. Veruca, selfishly demanding of her father that she wants such a goose immediately, runs over to grab one of these geese. She falls on the scale, which indicates that she is a “bad egg”, and drops out of sight, followed by her father. Mr Salt would have done well to have listened to this passage from Proverbs 22: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Cultivating an attitude of selfish entitlement in a child is not akin to training up a child in the way he or she should go, and leads to a myriad of problems later in life. Generosity and giving give way to selfishness and avarice. Evangelist Randy Alcorn goes so far as identifying indulgence of a child’s every whim as a form of abuse. He writes,

“Don’t forget that the most effective form of child abuse is giving a child everything they want.” 

Why is it so effective? Because it is so seductive and self-serving. It is quite akin to the first temptation in the garden of Eden, when the Enemy subtly suggested that God must be holding out on something desirable, beguiling Adam and Eve with the temptation that they, too would be like God himself. They would become their own authority. Sadly, they succumbed to this temptation. God’s solution was one of sacrifice, not self-indulgence…the gift of His own beloved Son. There’s nothing wrong with giving good gifts to your children this Christmas. After all, God is the “giver of every good and perfect gift.” But teach the children why we give gifts at Christmas…because the Great Founder of the Celebration is Lord. He is the Greatest Gift! Let’s pray!

Heavenly Father; This Christmas, may we follow your example of sacrificial love, giving good gifts to our children and to one another, but understanding that the reason we give them is not to curry favor or to buy affection, but to express the great love of Christ’s incarnation. This we pray in Jesus’ Holy Name! Amen!



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