"If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them." C.S. Lewis
Tis' the season! (FINALLY!) The tree is up and sparkling bright, my favorite mug is brimming with nutmeg-dusted eggnog, and the multitude of candles are flickering their golden light and offering aromas of cinnamon and sugar to the house. The Nativity scene on the old wood bureau has just about come to life as we anxiously await the big day's arrival. My kids are beginning the yearly wonderment-dance in their heads of what the gifts under the tree may contain and considering that they might just receive the one thing their heart currently desires the most.
Their anticipation pulls back my own memory's cover as I remember being a little girl and wanting a certain doll for Christmas so badly that I ached for it. I would often walk with my brother to the toy store down the street from our house to spend time staring at her sweet beauty through the plastic window of the box and imagine me as her "mommy".
The doll was very expensive, so I always left with a hovering feeling over my spirit that the odds were slim; like I may as well ask for a real live riding pony - both were equally out of the realm of reality. My parents had a family of eight to provide for and we were living on a single income at the time, so I knew I was wishing on a black hole rather than a magical star. But that flimsy wish was my anchor, and so I held onto it as tightly as I could.
One day soon before Christmas, I went to visit "my doll" at the store and she was gone! Someone else bought her and I had to come to the realization that she would never be mine. If crushed had a face, I must have made it when I made that discovery. Heartbroken, I cried big, disappointed, 10-year old tears on the long walk home.
Well, I am thankful to report that this story has a happy ending: My parents had saved up, purchased that wonderful doll, and wrapped her in pretty paper and placed her under the tree - just for me. I remember finding the box sized just right and shaped like the one she came in - elation! Decades later, I fondly think of it still as my best childhood gift. I had asked, hoped, and yes - most definitely begged and prayed against all odds, and there she was! I had found her and therefore held my young heart's deep desire that day.
No matter our age or life stage we all want things. This Christmas, we must ask our older and more grown-up selves - what is it that I now desire most? And then, once we have it figured out, where can it be found? And, perhaps the most important query of all: Will it last? I mean really last.
Hopefully, you have dove into your soul's deep-end waters and are thinking of something not found at the shopping mall or the luxury car lot on the corner. My prayer is that you are seeking to know God. Really know Him. To find once and for all: The perfect gift.
God wants you to know He knows you. He also desires to give each of us a deeper understanding of His immense love for each one of us:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
This is a gift beyond comprehension! We are not able to understand its' cost! But, reading the sacred words above, we can begin to see under the wrapper, revealing what it is that our hearts and souls desire most - true and intimate connection with God and life eternal in Him.
What else matters but this?
God sent Love down in the form we can understand - as one of us - to show just who He is and just how loved by Him we are. Christ was fully God and fully man in tandem so that God's message to the world could be seen and heard and understood by the aching souls: Salvation has come. The search is over. You have now found the Gift of all gifts!
If we desire clothes we go to the clothing store, if we want food, we go to the grocery store, the best coffee in town? No doubt about it, we head over to the little Italian coffee shop.
But, to find the eternal things of hope, joy, peace, and love that lasts - we must go into the Source of them all - God Himself - Christ - the Perfect Gift that was offered that first Christmas. The greatest thing is, He never runs out of stock - He is always abundantly available to anyone who truly seeks Him! Trust me on this - this Perfect Gift never grows old.
Question: What is it you desire most? If it is God, find yourself a local Bible-based study that you can search the living, God-inspired Word and learn for yourself just how much God loves you. His joy, peace, hope and love is a gift that God has put your name on and He is just waiting for you to seek Him and find it. (Jer. 29:13)
Have a joyful Christmas friend!