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I’ve had the last bite of turkey, sprayed the whipped cream into my mouth, and spent the evening decorating the tree. Full transparency–I then ate all the oyster stuffing. Now off to bed in preparation for my favorite holiday…BLACK FRIDAY! Yes, I’m that person. I’ll rise at dawn with my detailed shopping itinerary of the best deals, hop in the Jeep, blast All I Want for Christmas is You, and I’m off!!!!

Now, for those of you who roll your eyes at Black Friday and make gagging sounds at my favorite Christmas song…just hold up and hear me out. I can buy $100 shoes for $30 if I get there before 7 am. The more money I can save, the better. I’ll sacrifice some sleep and brave the crowds to save some money. For those of you hating on the Mariah Carey banger, all I can say is, “Haters gonna hate.”

We look at our time, resources, and efforts and think, “How can I get the most out of the situation with the least amount of anything required of me?”  If we are not careful, we begin to view marriage as a transaction.

We begin to think along the lines of “I’ll contribute to the level that my partner contributes” or “If he/she’s not going to try, then neither am I.” When we get to this point, we need to check our hearts.

The mindset described above has taken a shift to a self-centered, consumer focus. Rather than putting the needs of your spouse first or looking at a marriage as a partnership, it has become a vicious game of performance, where no one wins.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

When we let sin enter our hearts and minds, we begin to keep a record of wrongs and become selfish. “I love you” then becomes something you say, but as the great poets of DC Talk once said, Love is a Verb.

Love is serving without first being served. Love is offering grace to an exhausted spouse who is too tired to give the kids a bath even though it is their turn. Love is listening to your spouse’s favorite Christmas song simply because it delights them.

Just as we express love in action, we can express sin in our actions. We need to stop and examine ourselves and decide whether we are living with a transactional performance-based or loving grace-based attitude.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Colossians 3:14

As you see the Black Friday ads or even do your Christmas shopping, remember that a grace-filled marriage is the best deal to be found.

Your contribution is based on your obedience to God. Love is what holds it together. And….All I Want for Christmas is You IS the best song of the holiday season.