If you could close your eyes and click your heels together three times, what would you wish for this Christmas?
No, I'm not talking about that 'treat' you've been eyeing all year... the one you'll get for yourself if no one else does. I'm talking about that secret longing inside you? The one deep inside that you just can't seem to fill?
What are you really thirsting for?
What about the ones you love? What do you wish you could give them?
If I had a penny for each time I heard a mom say she just wants her kids to be happy, I would be a wealthy woman. It's our heart cry for those we love most deeply. It's what we would move heaven and earth to achieve... happiness.
'Once the kids are happy, I'm happy.'
'Everyone should do what makes them happy.'
'Life is short. Be happy!'
Happiness goals. They're everywhere.
What is it about happiness? Why are we so drawn to it?
I am convinced that deep down we are all wired to crave happiness. God has placed within each of us an innate desire for pleasure, joy and contentment.
The problem is 'we are far too easily pleased'. Too easily accepting of this world's offer of happiness... the money, the success, the accolades, the comfort and pleasure of freedom and control, the relationships with loved ones, they have all blinded us to the offer of infinite joy before us.
'If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
God has promised us that 'in [His] presence there is fullness of joy and at [His] right hand there are pleasures forever' Psalm 16:11.
But we don't really believe Him, do we?
We have convinced ourselves that we can achieve happiness on our own terms. We alone know what makes us happy. Even when we can't fully verbalize it, we own our right to pursue our happiness. So addicted are we to happiness that sometimes our pursuit of it is marred by unwise choices, and disastrous consequences; but still we persist. After all... happiness is worth it.
But God's offer still stands. Right there, always before you. Promising you more. More than this world can offer.
Promising you a happiness that lasts. A contentment that this world can't understand. 'A peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish may not have been gratified.' A happiness that lets you lie down and sleep and have no fear of tomorrow... a state of being in which we know we are wholly accepted and loved for who we... where we are filled with an insatiable desire to spread that joy to others, where we are free to live life to the full and savor a joy that remains no matter the circumstances around us.
A 'holiday at the sea' or 'mud pies in a slum'? We get to choose!
The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God...to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness...to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is. C.S. Lewis - The Weight of Glory
No, we may not be in the land of Oz, and we may not have those magical red shoes, but we do have the 'power of believe'. God in his infinite mercy has given us the power to choose... the freedom to believe.
What do you believe this Christmas?
Do you believe that you can map out your own happiness? Or do you take God at His word?
Can you even imagine the 'inexpressible and glorious joy' He offers? Or are you satisfied with your 'mud pies'?
This Christmas, I'm wishing you a mindful Christmas.
I'm praying that you would find the time to press pause and really consider what happened on that very first Christmas.
To consider the JOY offered to the world... offered to your loved ones... offered to you.
Joy to the World, the LORD is come! Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room. And Heaven and nature sing! (Isaac Watts, 1719)
To consider the thirst-quenching good news that God actually became a man, lived among us, suffered and died for us, and loves us enough to pursue us relentlessly.
To consider that Love that accepts us as we are, that trades our sins for His righteousness and draws us into a soul-satisfying relationship with Him.
To ponder our part in the Grand Story and to wholeheartedly consider our response. You see, it's an offer; it's not a sentence. We get to receive it or reject it. The choice is ours.
Perhaps you've already figured it out. Figured out that all your searching hasn't brought the happiness you crave, or perhaps you're still stuck in the race, mindlessly running towards the next high. This Christmas, I pray that you take the time to think it through.
Yea, I know it's a busy time and who has the time to slow down to even think, right?
But taking the time just might be worth it.
But taking the time just might be worth it.
You just might figure out what you really want for Christmas... and that deep 'tongue-sticking-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth' kind of thirst just might be replaced with true JOY.
And even more... just like Dorothy you just might believe your way Home.
May you have a blessed and mindful Christmas!!