Searching for the CHRIST of Christmas
By Queen Phillips
The countdown of shopping days before December 25 officially began the day after Thanksgiving. Even before Thanksgiving, retailers stocked up on hundreds of items and gift ideas, from the smallest to the largest, to send customers into a whirlwind of spending.
As the countdown nears, the hustle and bustle increases; shoppers become rude, frustrated, and frantic in their search to find just the right gift. This is one of the most profitable times of the year for retailers!
However, for many people (believers and nonbelievers) it becomes the most stressful time of the year. The greatest stressor of this season is financial. Either a lack of money or a lack of discipline in spending overwhelms many. Some become depressed, discouraged and even express disdain for what should be a joyous time of celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ.
The fact that people are diligently searching during this Christmas season can be paralleled to the story recorded in Luke 2:1-20.
"And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
"..the shepherds said one to another, Let us go…and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass… So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12-15, Amplified).
A "search factor," which all human beings possess, from newborn to adulthood, is operating at maximum level in children and adults during this time of the year. While children are searching for toys, games and gadgets to fulfill their self-seeking desires, adults are searching for the toys, games and gadgets to satisfy their children's desires. Of course, this is in addition to the other gifts we feel obligated to purchase for others on our gift-giving list.
The search to find fulfillment and satisfaction oftentimes determines our perspective on the quality of life. Unfortunately, during this season, the search for fulfillment and satisfaction in things peaks, and proves to be devastating for many. Consequently, if the things aren't received or obtained, the search intensifies long after the holiday season, and sometimes become a life-long search.
(Don't tell me you don't know someone who is still traumatized because they didn't get what they wanted for Christmas when they were a child.)
In addition to those suppressed feelings, emotional instability, lack of discipline, self-control, and the ability to make sound decisions, the search becomes even more frustrating. Although searching can be beneficial, it is what many are searching for that has commercialized Christmas, and downplayed the reason for the season.
In essence, this time of searching should be for the Christ of Christmas-The One who is Savior of the world, the Gift of God to everyone. However, man must diligently search for Christ until he finds Him. And if anyone searches for Him, He shall be found.
Instead, many are searching for "things." Things may be costly in dollar value, but they can add no real lasting value to our personal life.
Many people are searching for the perfect gift that will express the depth of their love; however, no material object can substitute for the love of God. No thing can soothe the pain from a broken heart. Material items cannot comfort the grief-stricken who has lost a loved one, and will be facing the holiday season for the first time without that special person. No tangible gift can speak peace to a troubled mind battling with the storms and challenges that life can bring.
Only receiving the Gift of God can end the search to find fulfillment and satisfaction in things and people.
So, does this mean we should not give gifts? God forbid! Give gifts! Give nice gifts-gifts within your budget, small or large-as symbolic expressions of love and reverence of Christ.
However, keep in mind, things should not be the priority and focus of our "search." Things can never be a substitute for the gift of God through Christ the Messiah. Only the good news about Jesus the Christ can bring salvation, hope, joy, peace, and good will to all men as planned by God when He sent the shepherds on a search for the Christ over 2000 years ago.
The innate need to search is within us; placed there by Him, to search for Him. Therefore, only when the Christ is found will the search end. Moreover, He is still waiting to be found by those who will seek after Him. Searching for the CHRIST of CHRISTmas, and finding Him, is sure to bring the joy, peace, hope and love that this world needs.
Finally, when Christ is found, like the shepherds, it will result in genuine praise and worship to God for this extraordinary experience. It is after this kind of experience that you can then give the perfect gift-presenting Christ to someone else.
I pray that your search for the perfect gift is found in the Perfect One-CHRIST the Lord!
Queen Esther Franks Phillips is an anointed freelance writer and speaker with a passion to fulfill a divine call to publish the good news of the King and His Kingdom. Her writings and messages are inspired for the purpose of encouraging, empowering and enlightening readers and audiences of all ages. If you would like to, you can write to Queen through the Letters page of this magazine.