Christmas message

Tina Haapala |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

How about a break from money and investing this week? After all, it’s not every year that my column falls on Christmas (it’s about one in seven). A few Christmases ago I wrote the following:

Regardless of your beliefs, this is a special time of year. And even with all of the commercialism, there is a warmth that seems to permeate this season.

Those are still my thoughts. However, something else permeated our society in the recent past (and the current present). This year’s presidential election. The results have some people in an utter depression and others in jubilation. Interestingly the same thing happened in the 2008 election, though the people depressed or jubilant seem to have switched sides. I guess I understand, but these reactions disturb me. Many of my Christian brothers and sisters were convinced of a potential future depending on whether our president had the last name of Clinton or Trump.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that it is important to vote, to promote the candidate you think is best for America, to get involved, and to let your elected representatives know your thoughts and concerns. What I think is equally important is to not put your trust in these individuals for good or for bad. Thinking your candidate is going to usher in peace and prosperity is about as silly as thinking the other one will usher in the end of the world. And really, even if it were true, why should we shout for joy or moan in despair?

When I read through my Bible there are many things that I wonder about, but one thing stands through every chapter and book: God is in control. Go ahead and say that out loud: “God is in control.” Have joy or despair in your leaders but never take your eyes off your true Leader. Trusting in man rather than God has a pretty spotty track record.

Jesus was once asked the greatest commandment. His answer did not speak of kings or earthly wisdom:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.

But He didn’t stop there. Rather, he continued to answer a question not asked. I think He did so because the idea of giving God your all was accepted (if not always followed) by his audience. After all, they were the religious leaders of their day. But this next commandment was one in which they were sorely lacking. And in these days of strife and animosity that seem to be widening and deepening divides not just in this country, but also in the church, it is one that we need to be reminded of as well:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Have a great rest of your Christmas Day.

This article was published in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on December 25, 2016.