It’s Christmas time! From holiday shopping on Black Friday to the unveiling of gifts on Christmas Day, there is a fresh new build up of anticipation promising this year will be special.
Yet sadly, many are left with a sense of emptiness as the stuff once longed for becomes a drudgery, and the hopes for family cheer are as evasive as the “will-o’-the-wisp.”
Merchants and media fuel this longing and expectancy in people’s hearts. Christmas music starts playing well before Thanksgiving. Stores begin advertising holiday deals and consumers run wild on Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and Black Friday. Some even toyed with creating a Black Week!
It seems there is nothing new under the sun. From the time of our childhood, a longing broils deep in our hearts. We desire to recreate the smell of baking cookies, the twinkling of lights, and hear the squeals of scurrying children opening presents.
Yet, we remember even as children, we never truly were satisfied with the gifts we received. Sure, we enjoyed them for a while, but within a few weeks we were bored and wanted more. From there, the cycle starts anew: anticipation then disappointment, repeating through adulthood but always with a hope that there must be something more.
Perhaps this year we will see more people discover that they were made in God’s image, have eternity written in their hearts, and realize the deepest joys come from the intangibles. We should have little surprise to learn that nothing in this world can give full satisfaction. We always will long for more.
When asked how much money is enough, John D. Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more.” When we realize the real meaning of Christmas, the word “enough” can only be attached to a person. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst.” He said, ” I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.”
Christmas gifts and holiday traditions all will come and go, but Jesus offers a lasting gift of eternal life that can be compared to nothing that this world has to offer. The true meaning of Christmas, the coming of Jesus into this world, may have been diluted by commercial culture, but we still have time to discover that all the promises of joy in this world ring empty when compared with the gift that Jesus gives.
This gift of God came by Jesus visiting this world as a baby. He came for the purpose of taking our place in death and judgment. Because of this gift, we are able to overcome our strongest fear, which is death, and have eternal life. We live because He died. That’s a pretty sweet gift and one that does not leave us empty!
Lloyd Pulley is founding senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, 123 White Oak Lane. For more information about the church, call 732-679-9222 or click www.ccob.org. For more about Pulley, visit www.LloydPulley.com. For about his Bridging the Gap media ministry, visit www.bridgegap.org.