Fill The Void With Jesus

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:" Isaiah 9:6

My family spent Thanksgiving vacation with extended family in Las Vegas. Vegas is an overload for the senses. Everywhere you look there is something to see…something to do…and yet with all its glitz and garish glamour, it is an empty place filled with empty people, pursuing empty promises!

It is a place that appeals to all things fleshly!  Money, sex, merchandise, food - you name it, you can find it there. All the pictures and billboards promise so much, yet in reality deliver so very little.

As I sat in the coffee kiosk at our hotel early in the morning,  I realized that not much has changed in thousands of years.  Long ago someone could have been sitting in a Greek or Roman marketplace sipping a drink, watching people go from place to place - buying, selling, eating, doing - looking for ways to fill up that empty place inside - wondering if this was all that there was.

I watched as they scurried to and fro - Christmas music playing in the background - conjuring up some vague idea of happiness - some distant memory of a feeling from the past, like a nostalgic whiff or puff of smoke that is gone before we can grasp it or sustain it. The longing in us persists.

I cannot help but think of the lines from the Christmas song “O Holy Night”

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth."

Blaise Pascal, famous mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher, was attributed as saying “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing.  It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” That was not, however, the correct quote. This is what he actually said:

"What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself."

It was into such a world of pining that God sent His Son - the fulfillment of all our longings. Who knew that the answer to our deepest desires would come wrapped in such a humble package? The glory of God birthed to a teen age girl - in a dirty cave - who used a feeding trough as a crib and wrapped her baby in strips of torn cloth.

Most of the world went on with what they were doing, never realizing that our Creator, the God who transcends time and space, had left His heavenly throne. He had taken on human flesh and entered our world of pain, sorrow and suffering.

God drew near. Not shiny, not sparkling, and not spectacular in His presentation.

For many of us, we’ve heard the story so many times that it may have lost some of its impact or significance, but we cannot allow that to happen. We must purpose to keep Christ at the center. Not just the center of Christmas, but the center of every day of our lives.

Longing is not just for the unbeliever. Oh yes, it is theirs to a greater degree, but it can also be true of the child of God. Whenever we wander off looking to satisfy our senses, the pursuit will ultimately lead us to a dissatisfaction of our souls!

I read an interesting post on Facebook by a young girl I have watched grow up in the ministry. This is her post:

"I found that while on our journey for the pursuit of happiness, we are blindly grasping for anything that seems to satisfy us.  We pursue and we pursue trivial things while we incessantly and obsessively play games with ourselves as well as the people around us and even while temporarily we feel satisfied and full, it is our soul that remains famished.

There is a portion of us deep inside that longs for something more. We long for an idea that transcends that of modern, momentary pleasures. It is an unexplainable emotion that perplexes me and leads me to question my motive for living. For what, or for whom am I living?"

This made me sad - a young beautiful girl, raised in the church - and yet I hear the longing in her heart, asking the questions every soul longs to have answered.

 Who am I? why am I here?  Is there more to this life?

The resounding answer is YES! There is more!

All the buying, all the eating and doing will only lead us to a longing for more buying, eating and doing. Like trying to satisfy our thirst with salty or stagnant water, we will always come away wanting more!

Satan will try to keep us so occupied with other things that we never stop to seek the answers to these questions.

If I take one more trip...
If I buy one more thing...
Then I will feel better... 
I will be happy... 
I will be satisfied... 
But, that is a lie!

Our source of satisfaction is Christ and Christ alone!

So let’s remember, that Christmas will not be found in the stores, in the packages or presents, not even in our family gatherings. Many of us will come away just as empty as we were before only, "broker", "tireder" and 10 pounds heavier...unless the center of our celebration is Jesus!!

In the hustle and bustle of the season, let’s purpose not to keep Jesus on the periphery of Christmas. Instead let’s put Him at the center, setting aside that which is unnecessary and needless. Let's reach out with both hands to accept the true gift of God. Christ our Savior; the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

by Lori Eggenburg