Do you remember the gifts you received last Christmas? How about the Christmas before last? Can you remember what gifts you were given five Christmases ago?
This is the season of Christmas – a beautiful season of joy and laughter, a celebration of our Savior’s birth, a season when people are simultaneously obsessed with gifts and presents and things and more stuff! I love this time of year and all the wonder and excitement this season brings, yet, I’ll be honest – combing every store in Arizona to find just the perfect Christmas present for Great Aunt Susie can be enough to make a person crazy!
I’m always amazed at how quickly our Christmas treasures become things of the past, leaving us to anticipate the next, newest gizmo and gadget we may get under the tree next year. I think of all the “important” things written at the very top of my Christmas list as a young boy that have since been broken, donated, sold, abandoned, or forgotten. How easily we can place our holiday emphasis on checking off all the items on our Christmas lists and so quickly forget the One that brings lasting fulfillment and joy!
During this Christmas season, David’s prayer resonated even more strongly in my heart than times past: Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Nothing… David desired nothing besides his Lord. As I silently reflected on these words this morning, I began to search my own self, examining if I could truly, honestly say the same. Is Jesus my one desire during this season and always? Or am I looking for Jesus and (fill in the blank) to bring contentment?
If you knew that you would never get a pay increase, never get a better job, never move into a bigger house, never drive a different car, never go on another vacation, never get married or have children, never graduate with that higher degree… would you still be content and joyful in the presence of God alone? If everything you held of value right now was lost and tomorrow you woke up without the things on this earth that are most important to you, would Jesus still be enough for you? In the words of Corrie Ten Boom, an amazing Christian woman who experienced war, imprisonment, and great loss in her lifetime, reminds us: “You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”
Our American culture is consumed and driving us to a place of discontentment, always filling our hearts with a desire for something better, newer, nicer, more advanced. We are told that a nicer wardrobe or car can bring us greater fulfillment, joy, or peace. We are continually surrounded by endless advertisements telling us that we need more, more, more! Yet, in the midst of this Christmas season, when these material lies are at their peak in our society, I find it sobering to think how this mindset instantly devalues the significance of the cross and what Jesus did for us at Calvary. Salvation is the single greatest gift given to mankind (2 Corinthians 9:15, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:23), so expecting to gain more fulfillment or joy in anything other than Jesus Christ suggests that there is something better than Salvation and we need Jesus plus (something else) to be truly happy in this life.
Friends, the excitement of earthly things will fade, break, and be forgotten, but David understood that “In your [God’s] presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). What a gift to know that even when we encounter the darkest times of loss and pain and heartache, we can boldly turn our eyes towards Heaven and still have full joy in the simple all-encompassing presence of our Lord. This Christmas season, I encourage you to find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and strip away all the presents and food and lights and activities for a moment to ask yourself a simple question:
“Is Jesus enough for me?”