Powerful, post-Christmas pondering

I hope you have 3 minutes to read something profound — which perfectly fits this present post-Christmas “downtime”…

Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy
(Author: Jon Bloom, at DesiringGod.org blog)

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we’re left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.

But it’s possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.

So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

Gifts and events can’t fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They’re designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.

Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul’s deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, “Is that all?” because we know deep down that’s not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.

It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It’s just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that’s when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.

Amen. pdb

Abandon low & carnal aims!

I constantly mark and underline in my books. Perhaps one of the most precious quotations I have found over the years is this, from Thornwell. (I found it many years ago in Iain Murray’s THE PURITAN HOPE, a real gem of a book).

J. H. Thornwell quote…

“If the Church could be aroused to a deeper sense of the glory that awaits her, she would enter with a warmer spirit into the struggles that are before her. Hope would inspire ardour. She would even now arise from the dust, and like the eagle, plume her pinions for loftier flights than she has yet taken. What she wants, and what every individual Christian wants, is faith — faith in her sublime vocation, in her Divine resources, in the presence and efficacy of the Spirit that dwells in her — faith in the truth, faith in Jesus, and faith in God. With such a faith there would be no need to speculate about the future. That would speedily reveal itself. it is our unfaithfulness, our negligence and unbelief, our low and carnal aims, that retard the chariot of the Redeemer. the Bridegroom cannot come until the Bride has made herself ready. Let the Church be in earnest after greater holiness in her own members, and in faith and love undertake the conquest of the world, and she will soon settle the question whether her resources are competent to change the face of the earth.”

247xh

—from Collected Writings, 1871, volume 2, page 48; 
quoted by Iain H. Murray in The Puritan Hope, (Banner of Truth, 1971, page xxii).

Earnestly seeking things above,
pdb