By now the presents have all been unwrapped. Some of the toys are already broken, and possibly some still need to be assembled. The tree is dropping needles like crazy and we’ve all eaten much too much food.
Was it a good Christmas? I hope so. I hope it was fun and joyous and memorable. Personally, I loved seeing the thrill of anticipation in Emily and Josiah’s faces – and then their excitement when they finally got to open their presents. Family, food, gifts – what’s not to love about Christmas?
So, with all of that joy and happiness in mind, now I’m going to go right ahead and drain all the fun right out of it, if you don’t mind…
In his classic book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes:
“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
That statement absolutely nails it, I think. Like I said, I hope that Christmas was wonderful. But unfortunately, it’s just one day. For many people, life can feel like a long stretch of drudgery broken up by occasional bright spots like Christmas.
It makes me wonder how long we can keep holding on until the next holiday. Or hope for that promotion at work. Or look forward to the next big date or movie opening or concert. We’ve all gotten pretty good at distracting ourselves with entertainment, but we eventually have to face the truth: none of these things – not one of them – provides lasting fulfillment.
Jesus addressed this after the miraculous feeding of 5,000 people. The crowd wanted to see more miracles – more entertainment. But Jesus explained that what they needed was deeper than that:
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Here’s the point: happiness isn’t something you find when you go looking for it. In fact, some of the most miserable people I’ve ever known do nothing but try to make themselves happy. I believe that happiness is the by-product of a life that’s well-lived. It’s the result of submitting to God and serving him.
When Jesus says He’s the “bread of life” He’s telling us that fulfillment and satisfaction are found in Him.