The question of the day for school children of every stripe…

Before I was even out of the school yard Jessie was at it with a pal, both trying to outdo the other with their boasting.

“I got a Nintendo DS with a camera in it and two games!” said one youngster.

Jessie countered with her “XBOX Kinect” live video.

“My Nintendo game is a puppy game and I’ve got three pups already!” said her friend.

“Yeah, but I got an XBOX Kinect,” she said with even greater insistence.

Jessie also got a “boy baby” that eats oatmeal and wets his diaper, but she wasn’t mentioning that…too close to the heart perhaps.

I’ve no doubt my older kids will engage the same conversation with their own pals; iPods, mobile phones, XBOX and other video equipment topping the list of the most desirable and enviable acquisitions.

But, what did you get? Each year we try hard in the church and in our hearts to remember that Jesus is the “reason for the season” and that the ultimate gift is the newborn king, but where is Jesus now? And, more particularly, how on earth can he compete with the new Nintendo DS with the camera in it?

Naturally, he can’t, at least not at first. Our hope as Christian parents is that in time, he will triumph over the wiles of consumption and school-yard boasting, but not yet.

It’s really more a question for you and I to consider. What do we get with Jesus?

When compared with the latest flashy gizmo we don’t get all that much. Christ is ultimately a promise received by faith, not a toy snatched with grubby hands.

But, is He also for the here and now? Is there something we really can have in the meantime before he “comes again in glory”?

I was pondering this the other morning in a fit of the “bleak mid-winter” blues when I realized I was indeed equating Christ with the Nintendo DS, or at least putting him on par with the same maddening lust for consumption that troubles me at Christmastime.

It was then I realized that all my “treasures” were meaningless without a deeper, more consuming passion. When Christ becomes simply one of many options available to us, or even, the best option among options, he becomes less than what he is. The LORD was on to us when he commanded us not to make an idol for ourselves. When we do so, even when we make something that is supposed to resemble God himself, God is invariably shorted in the deal. God cannot and will not be reduced or objectified to an option or choice among others. He is and ever will be the only one, the ground of our being, the one to whom we are called and the one in whom we must find our deepest joy.

That is, we must be willing to content ourselves in him and nothing else. Rest easy friends, this is not to say that it is wrong to have a Nintendo DS with a camera, or a flat screen TV or a new laptop or a 4th Generation iPod Touch. It is simply a call to know that without God all this stuff is rubbish and refuse. We must agree with Paul that all these things are worthless compared with the all-surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8).

If we look for happiness in things, even really cool things, or relationships or hobbies or anything else in heaven, or on earth or under the earth we will be ever disappointed.

Only Christ satisfies our deepest yearning.

So, how about you…wha’ja’git for Christmas?

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