Celebrating the “Gift” of Christmas

It’s Christmas. The season of gift giving. Therefore, I want to take a moment to look at the gift God gives. Jesus Christ.

Jesus is a gift from God. In John 4:10 Jesus says to the woman at the well: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” NKJV

In our own strength, by our own wisdom, with our own effort we are unable to be fulfilled. We always thirst for more. During a season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our society reflects all the ways we pursue happiness and satisfaction apart from Jesus. We seek gifts of new clothes that can only be found at the trendy stores. Often clothing labels are not hidden but sown boldly into the fabric, a statement that we wear the best. We purchase a peppermint frappe or a gingerbread latte to make our day merry and bright. We decorate Christmas trees, string outdoor lights all around our houses, and purchase wreaths, nutcracker soldiers, and porcelain angels to display so we will generate the holiday spirit. Our calendars fill with social events as we focus on bonding with family and friends. When asked, many say Christmas is all about family gatherings.

Where do you seek satisfaction? What are you striving to achieve? Even those of us who know Jesus must at times step back and consider these questions. I need to. Often, I seek to be satisfied by a favorite food or beverage. This for me is crusty Italian bread with butter and a Starbuck’s cold brew with sweet cream. I strive to achieve a well-written book proposal that will attract a publisher; a first sentence that will hook readers pulling them into the manuscript; an essay or article that just might win an award when entered in a writing contest. Yet nothing in the world has everlasting fulfillment.

     The story of the woman at the well in John 4:7-30 is about spiritual satisfaction. Jesus Christ is the “all-satisfying source of life and strength.” In the “Christ-Centered Exposition” of the book of John, authors Matt Carter and Josh Wredberg write: “Any time we pursue satisfaction in something other than God, we commit idolatry. We’re placing that thing on the altar of our hearts, and giving ourselves to it, hoping it will do for us what only God can do.”1

     Living water, in the spiritual sense, designates life. In Jesus we go from being spiritually dead to being alive spiritually. In the New Testament the word translated as “gift” (dorea) from the Greek refers to something spiritual or supernatural.2

     Eph 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” NKJV

To visualize this living water, we might think of rushing streams and running fountains versus stagnate pools or marshes.3

     When we seek satisfaction in Jesus, we discover the value of a relationship with the living God. We are complete. We are fulfilled.

Contemplate Your Ways:

1-This Christmas season have you been disappointed, uninspired, depressed, or feeling left out? If so, examine your heart. Determine if these feelings indicate you are seeking satisfaction in something other than Jesus Christ.

2-Where do you run in a crisis? To God in prayer? To the refrigerator for a sandwich? To your phone to call a friend? If Jesus Christ is not your go-to spend some time in God’s Word getting to know Him better.

References:

1-“Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in John” by Matt Carter and Josh Wredberg published by Holman Reference Nashville, TN. Chapter titled “Thirsty?” pages 90-95.

2-“The Complete Word Study Dictionary” edited by Spiros Zodhiates Th.D. published by AMG Publishers. 1431, dorea page 490.

3-“The Complete Word Study Dictionary” edited by Spiros Zodhiates Th.D. published by AMG Publishers. 2198, zao page 698 C