What could put us in the Christmas spirit more than Indiana Jones?
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade they are searching for the Holy Grail. This infamous cup is said to have powers to give immortality to whoever drinks it.
As you can imagine many people were in pursuit of this cup that would offer them eternal life on earth.
Though many people clamor after immortality, it’s just one of many gifts people try to attain such as great wealth, perfect health, a loving spouse, the perfect home, the ideal job or the next gadget. The list is endless.
American culture has a slight obsession with receiving.
Every Black Friday more videos surface of fights breaking out over toys and flat-screen-TVs. Lines are wrapped around the store, and crowds are suffocating in malls where people are trying to get the best deal. Of course not everyone is fighting, or aggressive. Many are simply trying to save money on gifts for family and friends. Yet, if you were to ask the average person whether they prefer giving a gift or receiving a gift, their honest answer may be receiving.
Why are we obsessed with receiving?
Every person can agree that we long to have purpose, joy and peace. People long to be content. Yet how a person achieves this is widely debated. The size of the self-help section in Barnes & Noble makes this clear.
Some say it’s inner peace, some say fulfillment in your job, some say independence, and every Christmas season we are tempted to believe that more things will finally make us content. If they don’t make us content they will at least act as an emotional anesthetic to assuage us.
Americans will spend roughly $435 billion on presents this Christmas. Yet, most likely after a few days of playing with our new toys we will quickly return to wanting more. Despite being the wealthiest nation, Americans are never satisfied.
The Holy Grail
But what if there is a gift that can make us fully content? What if there is a present that can give us joy in the midst of sorrow, peace beyond our successes and hope beyond our circumstances? And what if that gift was ironically what the entire Christmas season was built around?
The birth of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection is the Holy Grail of gifts.
Don’t be fooled by it’s wrapping paper. Yes, Jesus was born to a poor woman yet to be married. Yes, he was laid in a feeding trough for animals. Yes, he was unimpressive to look at. And yes, he died a criminals death on a gruesome cross. Yet, we need to be careful how we make judgments about a gift as important as this one.
I’m a regular customer on Amazon. One of the things I most enjoy about it are the reviews. I take particular joy in finding a product that is unassuming but quality. For example, all HDMI cables are the same. Some are $50 and come gold plated, some are $4 and aren’t flashy, but both work exactly the same.
The gift of Jesus puzzles us. It doesn’t come wrapped nicely. It doesn’t appeal to the eye. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” You can only imagine the Black Friday Brawls that glowing advertisement created.
But look more closely at the offer Christ gives us and you will see a treasure like no other.
Read the reviews:
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.”
“To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
“Whom have I in heaven but you and there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you, my strength and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”
“Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you.”
Many who receive this gift have little else, but yet have everything. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, died in a prison camp during WWII. He had nothing, yet had peace, joy and hope. Countless others have the same.
There’s something on everyone’s Christmas list this year. It’s to fill the God sized hole in each of our hearts. To know joy, love, peace and real hope. Everyone can afford this gift, but few will receive it. Some need to hear about it for the first time, some need to be reminded of it. As Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again.” Presents are a blessing and fun to give, but there’s only one gift that will take away our thirst.