What a beautiful time of year, when the words of the Gospel are on the lips of millions and the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ fills the air around us. As a Christian the Christmas season has always puzzled me but on my journey the Lord has been turning my heart each year, more and more towards the manger. I say its puzzling because so much of our own human nature has leaked into the “reason for the season” that its difficult to be excited each year when we look at the holiday from the outside. The toys, the things, cars with big red bows, traditional Christmas songs rewritten into a catchy jingle for a department store commercial; it’s far from perfect. It is those worldly things we attach to Christmas that the Lord desires each year to filter from of His story.
Recently I read something from A.W. Tozer in “The Pursuit of God”, where he touches on the story of Abraham sacrificing his precious son Isaac. The story is found in Genesis 22:10-12.
“And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” / “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” / “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
The next couple of verses in the chapter tell us how God blessed Abraham and all his decedents for his obedience. Tozer comments on these passages saying, “Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. – Abraham possessed nothing yet was not this poor man rich? Everything he had owned before was his still to enjoy: the sheep, camels, herds, and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret.”
How fitting a message for this holiday season where the message of the manager to the cross is so easily covered by piles of stuff in our lives. Here we see Abraham, a man of God who had everything, yet recognized he had nothing. In his worship to God Abraham knew that even the promise of God, his only son, was not his to idolize in his heart. A.W. Tozer says of Abraham that, “the words “my” and “mine” never had again the same meaning after that bitter and blessed experience.” To all those that we would say are rich, they really own nothing. We are selves must look at what we think we have and realize it is all Gods. A.W. Tozer called it “the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation.”
This holiday season, ask the Lord to change your heart so that you realize He truly owns all the earth and all that lies in it. Be rich this season not in things but in knowledge of the Lord and the fullness of His free gift to you. The gift of his only precious son, come to us as a helpless babe, only to die for our sins upon a cross. Ask the Lord to free your heart from the things of this world so that your treasures are “inward and eternal.”