It was perfect, really. As perfect as a holiday could be aside from several family members fighting sicknesses that end in itis and one that ends in sclerosis.
The gifts were just right.
The food was delicious. (Thank you, Rachael Ray.)
Our home was warm and sparkly.
And still, there was…the end. As I got in bed and pulled the covers around my chin, I felt it seeping in: an aching void, an agitated discontent, an unnamed, unwanted Christmas intruder. Melancholy.
Tossing and turning, I tried to throw the bum out, tried to reason it out, tried to focus-on-the-great-night it out. But still it churned a river inside me. Was it regret that the holiday was nearly over? Frustration at the the not-quite-right things? Envy of other families enjoying Christmas Eve free of disease and all the uncertainty it brings? I’m learning to ask myself honest, painful questions and I did exactly that, hoping to quickly get beyond the feelings of gray, murky midnight that grew more suffocating by the minute. But the more I thought, the more frustrated I became.
Then it came; something I’ve been studying for the past few weeks. It wafted in like the song down in Whoville and it hit my heart hard at first (maybe hard enough to crack the resilient shell I had put there to deal with all the emotions of the holiday) and then in soft waves of bubbling solace:
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7)
Over and over it rolled. Are you thirsty? Come to Me. No conditions or pre-qualifications. No caveats or consolations. Just Him. The only true satisfaction. The only lasting life.
Why doesn’t a perfectly perfect Christmas satisfy? I honestly have no idea. It looks really good on paper. All I know for sure is that this churning thirst has stirred in me in varying degrees for all the holidays I can remember. Each has held a thrilling high followed by a drop of some degree. Sometimes the drop is a molehill, sometimes it’s a plunging ravine…but it’s always been there just on the other side of what I thought had been perfect. The only explanation I can come up with is: it was made to thrill us but not to fill us.
Come to Me and drink.
This beautiful line was not spoken by Jesus, it was shouted by Jesus. In fact, the Greek word is “ekraxen” - to scream or cry out. Jesus stood in the middle of the masses who had gathered “on the greatest day of the feast” (sounds like our Christmas, yes?) and He yelled at the top of His lungs to the people that He loved, “Here I am! I’m here to fill you! Come to Me for a long, tall drink of satisfaction.”
Last night, He said it again. It sounded like a whisper, but He must have been shouting to get through the tumult of my noisy thoughts. From somewhere outside my tiny, temporary bubble of reality, He yelled a lifeline to me. “You’re not sad, Bo, you’re just thirsty. Come to Me.”
I’m so thankful for access to the one and only well that never, never, never runs dry. And I’m thankful for a Christmas Eve that leads me there.
Has a nearly-perfect or less-than-perfect or not-at-all-perfect holiday season left you wanting more? Go to Him. He’s good at filling empty hearts with holiday hope that lasts.
With a surprising amount of sparkly hope,