IF you are expecting Christmas itself to make you happy this year, you will only be disappointed.
You see, Christmas simply cannot deliver on its promises. It can’t bring inner peace, much less peace on earth. It can’t bring joy and happiness.
“Christmas” will always let you down.
What is Christmas at its worst? It is crass, commercial, empty, exhausting, and very expensive ritual. But the fact is, Christmas should not be about the activities, the shopping, the parties.
It should be about Jesus. If you miss that, you miss everything.
The man who lost his son.
I read of a very wealthy man who had a passion for collecting art along with his son. They had priceless works adorning the walls of their massive family estate.
One day, the nation was at war and the son left to serve his country. After a few weeks had passed, the father received a telegram telling him his son had been killed in the line of duty.
The Christmas holidays came, and the wealthy old father was heartbroken. The joy of the season had vanished with the death of his son.
An unexpected knock at the door.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. He opened the door, and there stood a soldier with a large package in his hands.
He said to the father, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something I want to show you!”
The solider mentioned he was an artist and gave the old man the package. It was a portrait of the man’s son.
Though the world would never consider it the work of a great artist, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man hung the portrait over the fireplace, pushing aside millions of dollars worth of art.
The old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession. Half a year later, the old man died.
The art world was abuzz with great anticipation for the upcoming auction. According to the will of the old man, all the works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received the greatest gift.
The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled that day.
The auction began with a painting that was not on anyone’s museum list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?”
No one spoke.
Finally someone said, “Who cares about that painting. It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on to the good stuff.”
“Who will take the son?”
The auctioneer responded, “No, we have to sell this one first! Now, who will take the son?
Finally, a neighbor of the old man offered $50 dollars. “That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it.” The auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice…GONE!” The gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can bid on the real treasures!”
The auction is over.
The auctioneer looked at the room filled with people and said, “The auction is over!” Everyone was stunned.
Someone spoke up and said, “What do you mean, it’s over? We didn’t come here for a painting of someone’s son. There are millions of dollars worth of art here! What’s going on?”
The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, WHOEVER TAKES THE SON GETS IT ALL!”
The message is the same this Christmas. It’s not about the stuff, the trappings, the gifts. It’s all about the Son.
Because of the Father’s love…whoever takes the Son gets it all.
Greg Laurie is the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship and founder of Harvest Ministries, US. Visit his church website.