Better one handful of tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:5 NIV
Friend to Friend
Ah…Christmas! What a joyous time of the year! What a busy time of the year! What an expensive time of the year!!!! Yikes!
A family friend of ours is going through a tight financial season and is concerned about what he and his wife can afford to buy their children for Christmas. He has been talking with his seven-year-old son about the spending limitations they are bound by, hoping that these talks will diminish the child’s expectations of a lavish Christmas. Regardless of the monetary dialog, his son is still determined to get an electronic toy that is very expensive.
Over the past few weeks, this resolute child just could not stop talking about, longing for and thinking about this toy. My friend was amused and surprised the other day when his naïve son burst into the room with excitement, exclaiming “Daddy! Daddy! I figured out a way! I’ve figured out a way! I can still get my toy and you won’t have to buy it! You won’t have to spend your money! I’ve decided to ask Santa for it!”
At times, we can long for something so desperately, that we just can’t stop thinking about it! The problem with me is that I’m often longing for vapors. I want things that are neither eternal nor important in the grand scheme of things. King Solomon referred to this in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes as “chasing after the wind.” It just seems that my flesh is constantly battling the God-seeker in me. Can you relate?
At Christmas time, longings attack our contentment. Whether they are longings of a material nature or emotional nature – tangible or intangible. Our desires are often heightened by the commercial status of this flesh-driven culture. I’m compelled this year to pray specifically that the God-seeker in me would be strengthened. I want to want Christ more. I want a heart that is satisfied with Him.
There’s an old hymn written by the late Charles Wesley that is perfect for both Christmas time and all year round: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” It was the cry of those anticipating the arrival of a coming Messiah more than 2000 years ago and it remains our cry today as we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and anticipate His return as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s Strength and Consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart
Born Thy people to deliver
Born a Child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne
The purposed love-mission of Jesus wrapping Himself in flesh and clothing Himself in humanity was for us to be reconciled to the loving heart of God the Father. Hope came as a babe in a manger and will be returning soon to take us home. Now THAT is something to long for…
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for making that extravagant journey from heaven to earth to reconcile me to God the Father. As this Christmas season quickly approaches, would you empty my heart of longings that are not purposed for Your glory and replace them with longings for You? Would you fortify the God-seeker in me with Your Holy Spirit so my wind-chasing will stop? Please help me share the Hope of Christmas with my friends and family today.
Now it's Your Turn
Is there something you have been longing for that God may be calling you to lay aside?
Is there a sin in your life that needs to be confessed so you can be reconciled to the Father?
List three God-centered longings that you would like to possess, find a correlating scripture in your concordance for each one, look them up and write out those scriptures on a note card so you can have a handy reminder!
More from the Girls
Have you gone Christmas caroling this year? I haven’t yet (because I am writing this well before you are reading it) but I plan to take my family and a few friends to a local retirement community to do just that! Please join me…buckle up buttercup…get your carol on! Grab some friends, your kids, your kid’s friends, anyone with a pulse – no matter the singing talent – and go be a blessing in your community! Be sure to take your smiles with you!
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Friday, 22 December 2006.