Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.” Despite Einstein’s resistance to biblical truth and faith in Jesus Christ, there is what I call “common grace” wisdom in these words that moves beyond body and mind to the core of the soul. Let’s consider…
I Peter 1:17-19 says, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” We were redeemed with the imperishable gift of the Lamb who was slain to remove us from the bondage of sin and eternal darkness apart from our Creator. The imperishable gift came to us at Christmas time. It’s really the only gift that matters. The only gift that creates newness in our lives because of what Christ is doing in and through us for His redemptive purposes.
So, the perishables. Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury. The time of our stay on earth is fleeting and temporary. The perishables are obviously going to perish. Including our earthly bodies. As Christmas approaches, do you ever wish you could put on the brakes and bring the season back to a simple and unassuming celebration of the birth of our Savior, the imperishable gift? Without possessions and publicity? Without the checklist for success? Without the trappings of lights, tinsel, luxury?
Best for the body, mind, and “last but not least” – soul, is the wisdom found in I Peter 3:4: “But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” Let Christmas be about what is imperishable. A simple and unassuming manner. A quiet joy. A secure stillness before the Lord. An eternal Savior, a compassionate King, the Good Shepherd of our souls, Jesus. The imperishable gift of Christmas.
I Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
So, the perishables. About outward success. It is not about anything I can accomplish. It is about what God accomplished through the miracle birth of our Savior and His saving work accomplished on the cross. My salvation. Your salvation. We are a chosen, royal, holy people because of God’s mercy. He accomplished it. His success.
So, the perishables. About possessions. It is not about what we possess. It is about what God possesses. His people. I am thankful to be a believer, thankful to be one of His people. This is the focus of Christmas that is best for body, mind, and soul. This Christmas truly is about the “thought that counts” in gift-giving. The tangible items we exchange, are good for the soul if intended to be an expression of the love of Christ, the imperishable gift.
So, the perishables. About publicity. Surrounded by media in all its forms, the simple, unassuming retelling of the greatest story on earth is the only message that needs conveyance. God’s plan for the redemption of our souls through the incarnation. His Word. The manger. The gentle story. The powerful result. All found in God’s Word which has been preserved throughout history. The imperishable gift.
So, the perishables. Finally, about luxury. Glitter fades. Lights burn out. Parties cease. Rich food doesn’t satisfy. Excess leads to poverty of the starving soul. Trees get put away or die. Treasures get lost or forgotten. The only gift that lives on is Jesus Christ in our lives. The imperishable gift.
John 6:32-33 says, “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ” This is the bread that is best for body, mind, and soul.