Jesus' Christmas List!
Yes…it is almost December and Advent is soon again upon us.
Which means Christmas is not far behind. While it is exciting for some, for others it is simply another year to painfully reflect on grief, loss, depression or loneliness. But in this busy culture, we will all either take part in, or observe, as people decorate; make holiday party plans at work and home, prepare the menu, make room for company, and yes…make Christmas lists for Santa so that we are not disappointed with what we find under the tree on Christmas morning.
So, without trying to seem overly unimaginative or trite; I thought that we might briefly consider….
What would Jesus want for Christmas if we asked Him?
What would be central on His list? Would His list look like ours? And does He even have to ask for ANYTHING since He owns all things? A good cultural answer might be that he would want peace on earth and that everybody would be nicer and kinder. Perhaps that the world would become a better place.
But what does scripture have to say about Jesus’ wish list?
Well, we catch a glimpse of what might be Jesus’ Christmas list desires in the seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel. The climax of His yearning is found in verse 24: "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world”.
Although we are ALL undeserving sinners, there are those whom The Father has “given to Jesus.” These are those whom The Father has drawn to the Son (John 6:44, 65). These are Christians—people who have “trusted” Jesus as the crucified and risen Savior. Jesus says he wants them to be with him…. He is speaking of His Church. He is speaking of US!!!!
Have you ever heard the silly notion that God created man because he was lonely? Some surmise, “God created us so that we could be with him.” Does Jesus agree with this? Well…. He does say that he really wants us to be with him! But the question is WHY? Is it because He needs playmates? Someone to play Hot Wheels with on Christmas morning because He is getting bored playing by Himself? Why does Jesus want us to be with him? Is it because we are wonderful and deserving and he needs us?
His answer is striking, “to see my glory that you [The Father] have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” Wow! That would be a strange way of expressing loneliness. If the sole purpose for our existence was to meet some need found in God to cure His loneliness; that would be an expression of selfishness found in God. But our purpose according to Scripture is that He longs to share His glory with us….
In the words of the great Lightning McQueen, KA-CHOW!!!!! Merry Christmas to US!!!!!!
“I want them with me, so they can see my glory.” This language certainly doesn’t express his loneliness. It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his personal loneliness. The Father is not lonely, and Jesus is not lonely. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity but have chosen to share that fellowship with us, a fellowship that even the angels long to peer into. (1 Peter 1:12)
We, not Jesus, are starving for something. And what Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for—seeing and experiencing his glory. Oh, that God would make this sink in to our souls! Jesus made us to see his glory. Just before he goes to the cross he pleads his deepest desires with the Father: “Father, I desire that they … may be with me where I am, to see my glory.” But that is only half of what Jesus wants in these final, climactic verses of his prayer. That we would know The Father’s love just as Jesus knows The Father’s love…. that we not only see his glory but savor it, relish it, delight in it, treasure it, love it?
What Jesus wants most for Christmas is plainly laid out in scripture… that (we) his people be gathered in and experience the longing of our hearts—to see and experience His glory! Our hearts remain a vacuum sweeper searching for anything and everything in THIS world to fill it until we discover that we were made for HIM! Oh, that we would wrap our hearts around these truths this Christmas. Consider the words of St. Augustine as he reminds us; “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
What I want most for Christmas this year is for the Orchard Hill Church community to experience Christ in all His fullness and that we are deeply burdened to share his list with others. We want to see Jesus, whose first “advent” or “coming” we celebrate, and whose second advent we anticipate and LONG For. This is what Jesus prays for us this Christmas: “Father, show them my glory and give them the very delight in me that you have in me.”
May we at Orchard Hill Church see Christ with the eyes of The Father and see ourselves in His High Priestly prayer. This is THE Good News of Great Joy and THE essence of heaven. This is the gift that cost Jesus His human life to bring us to eternal life…. and is what we should ALL long to sing, celebrate and shout about this Christmas!
George joined the Adult Ministry team in September 2018. Prior to Orchard Hill, he served as a Senior Pastor of a church in the Pittsburgh area. George also served for 30 years in law enforcement, and was nominated and awarded Pennsylvania Police Officer of the Year in 2001.
He is a graduate of Trinity School for Ministry and hold his MA in Church History/Theology.
George is married to Amanda and has been blessed with eight children, four of whom were adopted with special needs.