Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 NIV
Paramount Movie Studios contracted writers, Livingstone and Evans, to produce a original Christmas song for a movie in the 1950s. Inspired by the Salvation Army bell ringers, the Christmas tune, Silver Bells, became a hit when Bing Crosby and Carol Richards recorded the song as a duet.
Whether it’s the ringing of silver bells or the twinkling of silver coins, both create the sounds of Christmas. Thirty-three years after the birth of Jesus, the anticipation of coins clinking in his money bag, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver—enough money to purchase a servant for seven years labor. The sound turned sour the moment Judas heard the coins jingling and knew he’d turned on Jesus, his friend, his mentor, his Savior.
My fear is that whatever I do to create a spirit of Christmas—singing Christmas songs, shopping, decorating, or dropping silver colored coins into the Salvation Army bucket—I’ve excluded Jesus. Smug about dropping money into the bell ringer’s bucket, counting the presents under the tree, and wishing for an even bigger Christmas . . . have I betrayed Jesus another year with my pride and greed?
While we hang silver tinsel on the tree, sing Silver Bells, drop our coins in the bucket, feeling all Christmasy, we can ask God’s spirit to lead us to hear what he wants us to hear, give what He wants us to give, minus the pride and greed. Alone, we can’t stop the thoughts that betray us. We need Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, the Son of God and man, who took our sins to the cross.
Double your prayers in December, tune in to Jesus, and turn this duet into an eternal hit.
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Terri Kelly is the Executive Editor of DevoKids.com and serves as a Staff Writer for ChristianDevotions.us. She is a featured faculty member at conferences, teaching the art of writing devotions for children and how to start a children’s ministry website.