As a child I would have been devastated if there were not gifts there for me on these two special days.
Reference: v. 12 For who knows what is good for people in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone? (TNIV Bible)
Explore: When I was young my favourite days of the year were Christmas and my birthday. On my birthday I was the centre of attention and I struggled to contain my excitement when friends and family would bring over presents just for me. At Christmas my parents would generously shower me and my sisters with copious amounts of gifts, to the extent that the presents spread out further than the branches of the Christmas tree. As a child I would have been devastated if there were not gifts there for me on these two special days. As my birthday comes round again for another year, I’ve realised I have quite a different perspective from when I was young. Now I am asking people not to give me gifts, but just to come over and hang out. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, or that I don’t like gifts, it’s just that I would much prefer their presence than their presents.
Application: While the writer of Ecclesiastes comes across very negatively, he makes a good point. If our life were to focus purely on tangible items, then we would not be likely to have a happy or fulfilling life. While it’s good to appreciate what we do have, our relationships and communities are so much more important. We don’t often notice them until they’re gone, but our connections to loved ones are so more important than our possession of treasured things.
Prayer: Lord, there is always something that we would desire to buy to make our life easier or better. And yet no amount of money can buy your love. Thank you for giving generously and knowing what we really need. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.