I don't have the most vivid memory of my childhood. It's not because I'm suppressing some deep wounds from my past or trying to forget a horrible upbringing. In fact, I think I had it pretty good. The problem is that I have a pretty poor memory. But there are those few occasions that I will never forget. You know, those special moments, whether good or bad, that are etched in your mind for all your life.
One of those moments that I can recall happened when I was a young boy. It took place towards the end of Christmas day after all the gifts had been unwrapped, our meal had been eaten and the house was settling down. Well, when you have six kids in a family, it never really settles down, but relatively speaking, it was a little less chaotic.
I am the youngest in my family and my next oldest sister is about six years older than I. So, to put it plainly, I was spoiled. I don't remember one Christmas when my parents didn't get me that special gift I was longing for. One year is was an electronic, animated Etch-A-Sketch, another year it was the latest Nintendo video system, the list goes on. I had everything a little boy could ever want. Not to mention I had five older siblings who looked after me, played with me and only occasionally found pleasure in picking on me.
But on this one Christmas, at the end of the day, I found myself kneeling down by my parent's bedside next to the stand where their perfectly square digital alarm clock sat. And here I was, a boy who had everything he could possibly want, with tears, rushing down my face. I couldn't even explain why I felt so terribly sad, I had no good reasons, except for the fact that I felt lonely, empty and lost.
I remember one of my sisters coming into the room and finding me on my knees silently but steadily weeping. "Pierre, are you ok?" Of course I denied that anything was wrong. "Did you not get something you wanted for Christmas?" I shook my head to say no and explained through tears, "That's not it." She left the room to go get my mother who also came to console me.
I'm not sure if my sister or my mother would remember this day, but it's one I will never forget. I truly believe it was one of the earliest points in my life where God was beginning to show me, in a very subtle, but tangible way, that life without him is void and empty. My parents did a wonderful job in not only supplying for what our family needed, but also for everything we could have wanted, yet there was something that was missing. This was something that money could never buy, but ironically came without a price.
I now realize, looking back, that the emptiness I felt at that tender young age could never have been filled by any material gift. The only way to fill that void is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It wouldn't be until my early twenties when God would open my eyes to the true reason for Christmas and the only gift that will satisfy, the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to make a concerted effort to get away from all the hustle and bustle around you, especially during the Christmas holiday, and spend some time with Jesus, God's most precious gift. If you are a parent, make sure that the material gifts you give your kids don't distract them from the greatest of all gifts, Jesus! Jesus told the woman at the well,
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. Whoever drinks of this water (from the well) will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:10,13,14)
Open your heart to Jesus, God's greatest gift of all time. He is the only one who can fulfill the deepest longings of your soul.