If you won the lottery, would you be perpetually happy?
If you never had to work again, would you ever frown?
My wife’s guilty pleasure is watching “reality” TV. A few months back she got hooked on a show about people who won the lottery. At the end of each episode she’d track me down and voice her shock that people who came into a lot of money never seemed as happy as you’d think. I watched an episode with her one night and became amazed myself at the pile of problems lottery winners face. There was jealousy from neighbors and kin. Lines of “old friends” reappeared on their door steps. And in many instances the money didn’t last.
Sometimes I feel like if I had a lot of money I’d be happier. As Christmas approaches I’ve begun to see the same message all around me. Buy a new car – find happiness. Get a diamond – experience joy. Be up to date in technology and you’ll never frown again!
Can money buy happiness?
In scripture the Psalmist writes, “Happy are they whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1
Happiness doesn’t come from piles of cash, but from being in right relationships. Happiness is experienced in the wake of grace and forgiveness. The happy ones are those who find themselves at peace with people and at peace with God. Happiness is the result of knowing that you’re loved and that no sin and screw-ups can change that.
As Christmas approaches you may be tempted to look for happiness under a tree. Be warned, you won’t find true happiness there. See, the gift that really provides happiness came 2,000 years ago. He was born of a virgin, raised by a carpenter, and nailed to a tree. This gift, Jesus, comes with grace and mercy. This gift promises unending love and eternal life. This gift makes all God’s people shout, “Joy to the World.”
I hope you experience forgiveness this Christmas season. I hope you’re reminded daily that you’re loved. I hope you always know that there is a place for you in God’s heart. And I hope that makes you happy.
In the Way,