As we gather around the tree this Christmas, I’m sure we all come with different expectations & experiences. Thank God, the frantic shopping’s over, the to- do lists are destroyed, the gifts are wrapped and we all gaze at this tree with a sense of expectation. All our desires and wants rest under it. Now every year, we ask our kids that infamous question. “So guys what do you want for Christmas? Dad, I want a bike! Dad, I really want the new polly pocket. Dad, I want the Cinderella lego set”. Now don’t hold your breath, it gets better, the plot thickens. “Dad”, no more like “daaaad” can I “also” get a skateboard? Or Dad can I also get a unicorn mystery box or a pink kids digital camera and on and on it goes!!! As we open the presents, the responses are remarkable. “Yeeees! Look what I got! Or with those glaring eyes, That’s not fair how come she got a Frozen dress and I didn’t. There’s both laugher and crying, screaming and scratching, barking and bartering. [Ah, Don’t you just love Christmas].
In the gospel of John we see two fishermen walking behind Jesus, John & Andrew. I think they were intrigued by this man. From what they had seen to date, there was enough evidence to this whole Christian thing to keep them following Jesus for just a little bit longer. Imagine the conversation as they walked behind him “You know what John, I’m telling you, there must be something to this whole Christmas deal. Why does everyone, everywhere on every continent celebrate this thing? Honestly, has the world gone mad! Don’t you see, the whole world’s stopped, the whole world’s participating, I mean the entire calendar revolves around this chaps birthday! It might be a good idea to just keep walking behind Him for a few kilometers. I can picture the scene, as they’re walking along the road, Jesus asks a question; A question, that can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable, it can pierce the soul. A question that cuts through the fluff. A question that should cause us all to pause, ponder and answer. Jesus stops, turns around, looks at them and asks that infamous question:
“What do you want?” (John 1:38)
John, what do you want? Andrew, tell me, what do you really want? Awkwardly, I'm sure they looked at each other and began to answer one by one, “Well, since you’re asking, I wouldn't mind a new fishing rod! Yes, Jesus, I agree with John, maybe you could throw in a boat and net as well.” On a serious note, If God asked them that question, what if He’s asking you that question this Christmas. How would you answer him? Ryan, what do you want? Initially we might say? Well God? I want a bike, I want lego, I want a doll, I want a car! What if He said, Okay but what do you really want? I want a better house, I want a promotion, I want to be thinner, I want to travel, I want a job, I want a better marriage, I want a new marriage. I want you to heal him, I want you to heal her! What if Jesus gazing into your soul, asks you that question again, really is that it, is that want you really really want? Will that solve it, will that make you happy, will that quench your thirst, will that fill your soul. Will that meet your desires as you look under the tree?
This question changed the course of these fisherman’s lives. What happens next is my longing for Christmas; On that day, around the proverbial tree, reflecting on the significance of his birth and this soul searching question. The text says they decided to spend the day with Jesus. Through the unwrapping of the many gifts throughout their lives, the high’s and lows, the family festivities, they came to the conclusion that all this stuff just doesn’t do the trick. After yielding their hearts and coming into the presence of God this is their conclusion “We’ve found the messiah” We’ve found something so great, someone so awesome, someone so loving that any other gift on every other Christmas just won’t do.
We all have wants, but beneath those wants you might be saying I want wholeness, I want hope, genuinely at the deepest level I want peace! Soul silencing peace and contentment. Maybe what you really want is God! Maybe who you really want is the Messiah! Today would you be open to reflect on this question! As you watch your Christmas unfold before your very eyes would you consider muttering that question under your breath, “God, what do I want?” You know if you open your heart, we can all have what we were truly built for. We can all have who we were truly made for. Their confession can be our confession “I have found the Messiah”, I’ve found the Shepherd of my soul. Today maybe for the first time you’d be willing to receive this gift of an eternal relationship with God through Jesus by, simply saying “Lord, I’m sorry for chasing all the wants that have left me empty. Lord, I want you. Lord, thank you for this unearned gift of grace”
Is what you want, what you really really want? If it is, then why do you always want something else! I would like you to consider spending some time with God right now. You can do this in silence or you can do this to a song I’ve been reflecting on by clicking on the link that will pop up at the end of this video. Once you’ve skipped the ads, sing privately to the words and let them soak in and touch your soul. Friends, today May the Lord turn his face upon you, May He bless you and May he give you His peace. Merry Christmas everybody.