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Good News - Broward Edition
18 December 2013
Trisha Hartman
Good News
What does Christmas look
like? Candy canes? Toys? Trees?
Outdoing neighbors’ decorations?
By outward appearances, the
celebration of the birth of the
promised Messiah has been
changed into a commercial festival.
Unfortunately, what has happened
to our holiday is showing up in the
kinds of relationships we havewith
one another.
Consumer relationships
About 130 commercials air
during an NFL football game,
taking up one hour of airtime. The
ball is in play for only about 11
minutes. The average consumer is
exposed to 3,000 ads daily telling
you what you need to eat, drink,
wear and look like. Theirmessages:
“You deserve a break today”
(McDonald’s) “Have it your way”
(Burger King) “Your kids always get
what they want; now it’s your turn”
(Toyota).
Mass marketers convince us
that we have a problem and their
goods or services will satisfy our
needs. Dissatisfied consumers
return goods when they fail to
satisfy expectations. The reasons
for their return sound a lot like the
reasons couples divorce:
We grew apart
I’mnot happy
I deserve more
With a consumer mentality,
will you keep the oldwhen the new
appears better?What are you loyal
to? Are you ever satisfied?
In 1965, the Rolling Stones
released the song “I Can’t Get No
Satisfaction” which is the same
complaint Solomon described in
the book of Ecclesiastes when he
pointed out that pursuit of
satisfaction was all in vain.
Consumer relationships ultimately
leave us longing for more.
Do you expect your spouse to
satisfy you? If God loved us only
when we satisfied him, humanity
would not havemade it past Adam
and Eve. Had TV existed in the
Garden of Eden, Satan could have
used an advertising campaign that
appealed to Eve’s emotions
through adswhich promised, “You,
too, can be like God! Just eat this!”
(Genesis 3:4). This enticement was
the first consumer marketing plan
in creation. Satan successfully
turned Eve’s attention from God’s
authentic relationship to a
consumer relationship: “It’s all
about me.”
Consumer relationships are
based on feelings
The word “love” can be used
to describe actions or feelings.
When describing feelings, the
ancient Greeks used theword eros.
Commonly
associated
with
romantic love, it actually includes
any conditional love related to
performance. For example, we can
love a race car or an athlete. Eros
lasts as long as we feel positively
toward the object of our affections.
Eros serves its purpose well. God
created it to draw us together.
However, because it is based on
feelings, it cannot sustain a
relationship on a long-term basis.
In contrast, agape is godly
love. It is unconditional, unmerited
favor. John described this love as:
“This is real love not that we
loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son as a sacrifice to
take away our sins…We love each
other because He loved us first” (1
John 4:10, 19). Agape is not
conditioned on feelings, but, rather,
is a choice to love.
Covenant relationships
A covenant is a contract or
agreement between two or more
parties. While dictionaries do not
convey that covenants carry
greater
responsibilities
than
contracts, in a biblical context, they
do. In theNLT version of the Bible,
“covenant” is listed 329 times. It is
almost exclusively used to describe
the various covenants that God
made to love and provide for us
despite our sinful nature. Ezekiel 16
tells how God reaffirmed his
everlasting covenant even though
we continued to commit adultery
(turn to other gods). If God
governed himself by feelings, he
would have tossed us aside and he
would have been justified in doing
so since we did not live up to our
end of the bargain.
Jesus contrasts covenantal
love fromself-centered (consumer)
love in this way:
“I am the Good Shepherd.
TheGood Shepherd lays downHis
life for the sheep. The hired hand is
not the Shepherd and does not
own the sheep. So when he sees
the wolf coming, he abandons the
RELATIONSHIPS
The Covenant of Christmas
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