Wishing for What We Already Have
Editorial by Andre Hastick
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two most festive holidays on the calendar. In these last two months of the year, extended family members reunite, decadent holiday meals are prepared and enjoyed, and the battle wages on for the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music!
But during this bustling holiday season, non-stop advertising tells us to believe that our life experience lacks something. Deep discounts are offered to consumers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the 12 days of Christmas. Each promotional sale is designed to get us to believe one basic message: that our lives lack something right now, and to experience life more fully, we should buy now! While it’s always nice to save money, what is more important is that we are saved from an ongoing feeling that something is lacking in life.
Being happy is what people will often say is their life goal. “I just want to live a full and happy life.” This concept is embedded in the very fabric of American culture today. It’s an American ideal that was uttered in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, living life to the fullest may not include happiness at every moment.
The Bible introduces us to a much more elusive and unadvertised concept: contentment. When did you last hear someone say, “I just want to be content”? To our ears, that may sound like a downgrade from our “best life.” However, Oxford Languages defines being content as “a state of peaceful happiness.” No matter what we’re going through, whether exciting or challenging, contentment is always within our grasp, even when we’re not experiencing the happiest of times.
The apostle Paul reveals a secret life formula to us: “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11–13, ESV).
It’s interesting that these year-end holiday celebrations are set on the calendar before we even know what kind of year it will be. Will the economy be up or down? Will there be a new health concern sweeping over the globe? In the midst of the unknown, the commitment to celebration, regardless of life circumstances, gives us a hint of the principle that should govern our lives: contentment is not based on fleeting happenings; it’s based on a decision. The secret to contentment is deciding to live in a state of gratitude and to yield to the power and purpose only found in Christ.
Andre Hastick serves as the executive secretary of the Chesapeake Conference.
Read articles from the November/December Visitor Magazine
- Editorial: The Painful Reality of Abuse
- Feature: Hidden Harm of Emotional Abuse
- Dig Deeper Into Adventist History
- Share the Love This Christmas