For the last several hours, I have been slouching in my easy chair basking in the soothing aura of the season. I have not moved in several hours, and it probably will be several more hours before I even think of moving.
Just a few days ago, we were in the middle of our Christmas holiday celebration with family and friends. The only thing I enjoy more is the peace and quiet that follows upon the heels of all that festivity. Do not get me wrong, I love my family and friends but boy do I love peace and quiet.
Isn't one of the sayings of the season, "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men"? I am not sure of all the ramifications of that phrase, but I do enjoy the peace that comes following an exuberant time of celebration with family and friends.
About this time, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came in and saw me in the same position she saw me several hours previous. "Are you," she said after staring at me for a few moments, "going to stay in that chair all day?"
All I could do was smile graciously in her direction.
Then she became concerned, and prodded me a little, "Are you all right?" She said it with a deep sense of genuine concern. I knew I owed her an explanation for the collapse of my bodily activities.
"Nothing wrong with me," I explained, "I'm just broke." With that, I smiled a rather infectious smile.
She broke out laughing and said, "What did you say?"
I think at the time she thought I was just exercising the spirit of merriment. "I said, I'm broke."
Then she had a look of concern on her face. "What do you mean you're broke?"
I knew she was concerned at that point and I had to explain to her what I meant by being broke. By being broke, I do not mean like the government broke into my bank account and confiscated my money. For all Americans that is quite a taxing situation.
Also, by being broke I do not mean I dropped my wife's favorite porcelain teapot and broke it all over the floor. Once something is broke, there just is no way of fixing it.
"I'm broke," I repeated to my wife with a whimsical smile, "and it's a real good feeling this time of the year."
She looked at me, shook her head and then went back to her business.
I thought some more on that subject and reaffirmed my idea that being broke this time of the year was a marvelous feeling. If it were April, tax time, being broke would not feel so good. Or, if it were before Christmas, being broke would not be a very good idea.
Being broke after Christmas means several things.
First, it means that I did my best to bless my family and friends around me with tokens of appreciation. That is all a gift really is. I am not a very good gift buyer, just ask my wife. I am the kind of person who thinks it is the thought that counts. I also know, behind every thought must be some emblem of tangibility. I have done my best this year to select gifts that would be appreciated, at least for a moment.
It would be a terrible thing at the end of the Christmas season to have a ton of money left over realizing that maybe you did not do your best this year at Christmas time.
Do not get me wrong. I am a Pennsylvania Dutchman through and through and we do not believe in wasting money. We do believe in investing our resources in family and friends. I am not extravagant in my giving. I do not have it to be extravagant. What I do have, I want to use to bless and encourage the people that have meant so much to me during the year.
Yes, being broke is a good feeling.
Being broke also means I have no room for regrets. Would I have liked to give more gifts? Sure, but when you run out of money, you cannot go any further. By being broke at the end of Christmas means, I have done everything I possibly could within my resources to thank the people I love for being a part of my life.
You cannot buy friendship. Unless of course you are in Washington DC or Hollywood California. Among normal folk, friendship is not for sale. It is not even for rent. At this time of the year, it sure is a wonderful feeling to tell your friends and family you are glad they are a part of your life.
Being broke is a lot more than having no money. Being broke means that I have done everything within my power to bless those people around me. I have given all I had to give and there is a good warm fuzzy feeling about that.
God is the one who set the standard along this line. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23 KJV).
God looked at the world, it broke His heart and therefore He sent His Son to remedy our situation. Thank God for that broken heart. He gave His all for those He loved.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483.Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.