Enjoy the Season

Enjoy the Season
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
November 27th, 2016
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Enjoy the Season
Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the music, I love the decorations, I love the reason for the season, I love the mystery behind gifts, I just absolutely love the season.

But there are some things about the season that are not my favorite. I’m not a fan of the traffic… the lines… And I’m certainly I’m not a fan of all the business that comes with the season. There are just some things that come with the Christmas season that I do not enjoy.

And sometimes these things really get in the way of enjoying the season.  There have been some years when I get to the end of the season, and I was never able to get in the Christmas spirit because life was too busy, or Christmas was too commercial, or whatever. And so today, we are going to talk about Enjoying the season!!

All of our Scripture today comes from Ecclesiastes chapters 2 & 3 and was written by the wisest king in history, King Solomon. Here is what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 (NIV)

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

And our first point for the topic of Enjoy the Season is:

1. Life is Futile

Here what Solomon is saying is that he was more successful than anyone had been to date.  And yet the conclusion this very wise man came to about all that he had done was that it was all meaningless…it was like chasing the wind.

Have you ever chased after the wind? No, of course not, because it would be pointless.  You can’t catch it and if you tried, you would work and work and work, chase and chase and chase but you would never actually catch it.  Imagine the movie twister, with no ending.  And this is how the wisest king known to man is describing our lives…futile…

Absolute futility,” …
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”
3 What does a man gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun?
 Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 

So, then, what’s the point…how do we enjoy the season if life is pointless?  Well, this brings us to our second point, if all of our labor and hard work is futile, then instead of worrying over it, instead of dreading it, instead of letting it ruin our day…we might as well enjoy it.

2. Enjoy the Season

In other words, it’s not the end of the word, if we don’t get caught up in these things that prevent us from enjoying life, and instead just take a moment to enjoy life.

This is what Solomon tells us to do in Ecclesiastes 3:9-13
What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

This scripture tells us that we gain nothing from our toil but that we should find satisfaction in our toil.  This means our satisfaction and happiness does not come from the result of our work, but instead we should try to find happiness in our work.  In other words, don’t get too focused on what we have to do but instead, live in the moment of what we are doing.

And this is the same principle we need to apply during the Christmas season.  Take time to enjoy it and don’t get so wrapped up in what presents you have to get or what kind of traffic there will be at the mall.  Don’t let the fact that Dinner still has to be cooked and gifts have to be wrapped ruin your holiday.  Remember, all of these things are futile.  You are going to wrap something that is going to get unwrapped.  You’re going to spend hours cooking for 10 minutes of eating.

So, we should find the joy in the moments of life:  the joy of the flavorful turkey, the joy of the company in which we are in, the joy of giving something to someone and watching their face light up.

During the Christmas season, we should enjoy the season and enjoy the moments of the season.  So this Christmas season…lighten up and enjoy the season. Have some fun for as this scripture tells us…these things are a gift from God.

But as my mom used to say…Have fun, but not too much fun.

In other words, this scripture telling us to have fun, because what we do is pointless but that isn’t a license to be ungodly and to indulge in sinful things.  We still need to fear God and His judgement…which is our third point.

3. Fear God

Ecclesiastes 3:16-17
And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

Uh-oh….We better watch it…because one day dad’s coming home.  And when He does, judgment will come.

This doesn’t mean we need to live in a fear of God not showing grace.  This doesn’t mean we need to live in a fear of God arbitrarily punishing us.  This doesn’t mean we need to live in an irrational fear of God, but instead we live in a respect of God and his judgment.

This is the same as when you were a kid living in the fear of your father’s judgment.  It didn’t mean you didn’t have fun, it just meant you had fun the right way. It means that you live in a respect of your father’s punishment.  And because of that you don’t do some of those things that you really want to do:  you don’t go to that party you shouldn’t go to, you don’t take the car when you shouldn’t, you don’t sneak out of the house, even though you might really really want to do those things, because you fear your dad’s punishment.

And we should do the same in terms of having fun this season and enjoying Christmas.  We do it within the confines of what God says is right and wrong.  We do it while still being generous and being giving.  We have fun, but not too much fun.

So this Christmas season.  I want to encourage you to enjoy the season.  Don’t let all of the futile things get in the way of eating, drinking and being merry.  Find moments to enjoy because those moments are gifts from God. 

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