My youngest son is 12, just about to turn 13. I can remember this season of Christmas presents when I was his age. You know the one where the kid is growing so fast you can't keep them in shoes, shirts or pants because they outgrow them every 3 months. Their entertainment is shifting from affordable toys to the start of more expensive entertainment endeavors. They are impossible to buy for on a budget. NOW... as a kid (perhaps us adults too) the Christmas moment that we're all hoping for is that moment when we open the gift. With passionate and enthusiastic energy we tear open the wrappings, rip open the box, hold up the treasure inside and exclaim... "IT'S JUST WHAT I ALWAYS NEEDED!!!".
What a second. I mean it's supposed to be"It's just what I always - WANTED!!!". Nobody rips open the wrappings to find underwear and socks with the excitement that we received something that we needed. On occasion, what we always wanted is something that we really needed and those tend to be the magic moments that bring some of the greatest joy and satisfaction, and I pray we see Christmas this way.
I recently was listening to a secular program that was interviewing a talented secular individual who explained that he loves what religion adds to the human experience, but that he doesn't believe that religion and spirituality needs to be connected to a particular god. Many in the secular world WANT the emotional security and idyllic aspirations of spirituality and religion, but they often don't want the savior that we NEED. How different is it for us?
I know that I can often look at my life and make a list of needs and wants. My savior could be a raise in salary, a new laptop, a car repair, a doctor to heal my illness, a compliment to change my mood, a government to give me a tax break, Amazon to give me a deal, my spouse to give me attention, my... to give me... what I want. What I need.
As we move into the Crazy Beautiful of the Christmas season... As we move into the lights and glitter, tastes and sights, songs and sounds of Christmas, will you join me in praying that God would give us the contentment only found in Christ? That as we list all the wants and needs, and some of these are VERY real needs and hopes, that we would see that the contentment of our lives is ultimately found in Jesus Christ? It is he who gives us what we truly need. Forgiveness of sins, Relationship with God, Rescue from the Enemy and the promise of Resurrection from the Dead - an Identity that cannot be taken from us! It is Jesus that gives us a "double portion", not only giving us Grace that forgives sin and right standing before God, but also equipping us for every good work, every opportunity to share real joy, while meeting every true need we have. And when God elects not to meet our ultimate earthly needs, he gives us a heavenly crown and eternity with him instead.
I pray that we, somewhere in the celebration, somewhere in the silence, exclaim from the deepest part of our soul "Jesus, YOU are just what I always WANTED.. because you are all I ever NEEDED"
May you be blessed with a great Christmas of peace in Christ, wherever you are and whatever season you are in!