Most of us spend the Advent season buying things to fill that giant space beneath our Christmas tree. We search for the latest and greatest items for those we love. We shop, we click, we wrap, and then – in an exhausted heap – we fall into bed. Today, after all the goodies under your tree have been opened and the surprises, large and small, revealed, some of you might find yourselves searching for a greater truth, a truth so profound it can come from a children’s book author and the pen of a French theologian and scientist.
The Grinch Got It Right
This simple truth to which we refer was recognized by none other than Dr. Seuss’s Grinch when he said:
“[The Grinch] puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Could this fictional character be uttering something very weighty and philosophical? Is he on to something – something so overwhelming that it took someone in the order of Blaise Pascal to delineate it for us?
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.”
Pascal’s “God-sized hole” is that emptiness inside, pondered by each of us. It may follow a mountaintop experience or a tumble deep into an emotional valley, but certainly every human comes to the moment of wondering, “Is this all there is?”
Without a doubt, the answer is available to one and all. It is found in the words of a book called the Bible:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
This simple verse from John’s Gospel, seen on street corners, billboards, and placards held up at football games, tells us this isn’t all there is, that we were made for eternity. This verse has appeared on millions and perhaps billions of tracts, but have we stopped for a breath – a moment in time – to consider its meaning? If indeed we are created for eternity, then this clearly is not all there is. If we do not perish but have eternal life, where is it and with whom do we spend it?
…have we stopped for a breath – to consider its meaning?
And perhaps most importantly, how can we get there? Again, this simple verse carries the answer: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” His son, Jesus, whom we celebrate this day with all the gifts that lie under our tree, cannot be bought, cannot be earned, and cannot be ignored.
All of us seek to fill the God-sized hole, and we are advised that Jesus is the One for the job. Accepting that is the essence of eternity. So this Christmas we hope you found some wonderful items under your tree, and moreover, we pray you received the greatest gift of all: the gift of faith.