For many years I wondered why this huge, empty hole in my heart lingered long after the holiday gift-opening and family-feasting had passed. Was it a let down from the hours of planning, shopping, wrapping, baking, and cooking that had zapped my strength, or was it something more? I truly didn’t know; I just knew that it showed up very year in the hours following Christmas. It seemed that I made a big hype about something, and when it was over, I was left with questions—and emptiness. Maybe that’s your experience too.
Today, I think I know the answer. Not that there is anything wrong with giving gifts to those we love or preparing a meal fit for a king, but God designed human beings with a hole in our hearts that can only be filled with Himself. No matter what we do to fill that hole—intended for Christ alone—we can’t seem to satisfy its hollowness. It doesn’t take years to discover that “more earthly possessions” are not the answer. In my case, a gnawing hunger for something greater loomed large in my spirit, reaching beyond what I had attained in my spiritual life. Could it be the intent of the heart of God, the Hound of Heaven, ever drawing me by His Spirit away from the unsatisfying things of the world and closer to Himself? I now think so.
For the first time in my entire life (more years than I care to count and announce), I feel full at the end of this Christmas Day. The very real presence of my God living inside me satisfies my soul. Why me? Why this? Why now? I’m not sure I know those “why” answers, except that a continual hunger drives me closer to my Lord, ever seeking more of Him, and always searching for writers who seemed to have found what I still long for.
This has been an amazing year of discoveries as my Holy House Guest guides my journey, leading me to writers that pen words of living water for my thirsty soul. My most recent discovery is Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts,” a book given to me by a dear friend. This best-seller has forever left its mark on my life.
Although I was still swaying from the depth of revelations coming from this one small book with a bird nest on the cover, I subscribed to Ann Voskamp’s daily blog at www.aholyexperience.com. One of the first emails I received included a link to John Piper’s website “Desiring God” to hear an interview with Ann. I challenge you to listen to it. The title of the Interview is “What our Christmas desperately, especially, needs this year.” Go to her website and look for the link on the right-hand side of her home page. Hearing the humility in Ann’s voice made me weep with her as she shared an experience of passing by a tarnished piece of jewelry lying on the ground—a cross.
The best Christmas gift I received this year is a new vision, not of the manger as you might expect, but of the cross. As I saw the cross more clearly—the pain, suffering, and agony endured by my Savior—I gained a deeper appreciation for that Holy Babe in the manger. You see, we cannot separate the two—the manger and the cross. Both are enormously significant. Both are totally essential, as one without the other lessens the meaning of either. We needed both—God gave both. We must believe both. We must embrace both. We must weep over both. We must rejoice over both. We must celebrate both. Their message intertwined is one great swelling announcement: GOD LOVES US! He loves us so much that He spoke it through a manger—He spoke it through the cross. He is ever-speaking His unfathomable love to us, hoping, longing for us to hear His voice, believe His message, and respond to His love.
Have you heard? believed? responded? Meet Him at the manger. Meet Him at the cross. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their message of God’s great love for YOU. Allow the deep-satisfying presence of God Almighty to fill your spirit to full! That, my friends, is God’s desire for each of us—to be filled with all the fullness of God Himself (Ephesians 3:19). How can we have emptiness when we know the One who fills? We cannot. We must not.
R. C. Sproul said, “The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.” Believe Him now—He fills empty hearts! ~ Janie Kellogg