December 22, Year B

Inspired by Psalm 96

“For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.” Psalm 96:4-6 (NRSV)

There is so much vying for our attention. We have relationships with families and friends. We need to make a living to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Then there’s the never-ending bombardment of social media and entertainment. Some of these things are very important. All of them have a place in our lives. And all of them try to claim the position of utmost importance. Any or all of them can become an idol.

Is there a good book or movie that would temporarily distract you from your daily stress? Then enjoy it! But don’t allow pursuit of those temporary enjoyments to distract you from the life God has blessed you with. Do you use social media to keep up with old friends or distant family? What a wonderful use of that tool! Don’t become absorbed with how many friends or followers you have, or cease to live your life because you’re too busy reporting it. Are you working to earn a living? Great way to provide for yourself while making profitable use of your gifts! Don’t allow your profession to determine your identity, or your paycheck to determine your value. Are you raising children or nurturing your spouse and close friends? What a blessing you are to them and they to you! Don’t lose yourself in the needs and wants of others at the expense of your own well-being, or base your own worth on the happiness of others.

All the good things we have in our lives are blessings from God, yet we must beware of worshiping the blessings instead of worshiping the one who blessed us. There is only one God, and he is to be praised for all that we have, and he is to be revered above all those good things which he has seen fit to give us.

Let us pray. Lord of all, marvelous are your works. Keep us focused on your majesty and grace, that we may appreciate the blessings you’ve given us as gifts from you rather than idols to be worshiped. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.