All men have this in common, we can take anything good and turn it into an idol. It was John Calvin who said, “Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition … it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain.”
An idol is much more than a bronze or wooden figure before which individuals bow, offer incense, chant, and say their prayers. No, an idol can be anything — material or nonmaterial — from which men seek lasting purpose, pleasure, protection, pride, or popularity.
Some people seek lasting purpose, pleasure, protection, pride, or popularity from their work. They worship their career and earn the title of a workaholic.
Other people hate their jobs, but they love the money which flows forth from their labors. An ample stream and stockpile of money is that in which they place their trust. Gold and silver are their gods.
Then there are the hedonists; whether it be toys, food, drink, technology, sex, vacations or staycations, fun is their creed. Pleasure is that for which they live. They worship fun and frivolity.
And the list of potential idols can go on and on. It can include artistic accomplishment, national interests, political figures, religious teachers, sacred places and rituals, and all sorts of relationships. All of these things can be good gifts of God, and all these things can be turned into idols or gods in which we trust.
This brings us to our question of the day, “Friends, did we again take something sweet, fun, pleasurable, traditional and good, and did we turn it into a substitute god? Did we idolize Christmas this year? The following questions might aid in our self-assessment:
- Did we trust the Holiday Season to give us lasting joy?
- Did we trust the Holiday Season to provide lasting peace?
- Did we trust the Holiday Season to provide lasting love?
- Did we trust the Holiday Season to provide spiritual renewal and revival?
- Do we find ourselves waking up to an empty house, an empty wallet, and an empty soul now that the Holiday Season is coming to a close?
- Do we find ourselves looking for the next “Holiday High” that will boast our spirits and provide for our hearts that which is lacking?
Believers in Jesus Christ, this ought not be our attitude this morning. There is no need for us to be spiritually or emotionally down today, not even for a moment. Nothing has changed. Because Jesus Christ is our King and Lover, we have purpose this morning. In addition, he is the one who gives us pleasure without regret. With his mighty arm and all-seeing eye, he protects us. If we will but read the Scriptures, we will find ourselves experiencing both humility and pride. Humbly, we will recognize we deserve nothing good from God, but with righteous pride we will stand tall in the unsurprising love of God for his bride. While we will never be popular with everyone, we are accepted and treasured by those who matter most: the Father, the Son, the Spirit, angels, and Christ’s saints. Popularity is not an issue for him who understands spiritual truth.
Friends, if we are down today, this could be a sign that we slipped into the sin of idolizing the Holiday Season. We took something good and put too much value in it. If we are guilt of such, and if we do not adjust our thinking, we will look to replace our Christmas idol with something newer and better. We will go through this upcoming calendar year substituting one deity for another, seeking lasting satisfaction, as we progress from St Patrick’s Day, to Valentine’s Day, to Memorial Day, to our birthdays. And we will not be satisfied. We will continually wake up, on the day after our holidays, with an uneasy and unsatisfied feeling in our guts.
Instead of idolizing Holiday Seasons, let us holiday in Jesus Christ. Let us GLORIFY and ENJOY him as we ought. Let us read his Word, ponder on his truth, commune with him in prayer, and celebrate with his and our spiritual family. Then, instead of idolizing Christmas, New Years, and all the upcoming holidays, we can eat, drink, and be merry without remorse, regret, and the emotional peaks and valleys experienced by many of our neighbors.