Speaking to Our Deepest Longings
By Richard J. Mouw, President
We often sing in Advent that the “long-expected Jesus” is the “joy of every longing heart.” Appropriate words, since the Christmas season is a time of many longings. Little kids long for the toys they hope will come their way on Christmas morning. People long for satisfying family reunions. And then there are the hungry and homeless folks who long for nothing more than a hearty meal and a warm and safe place to sleep.
All of these things are, of course, expressions of much deeper longings: the need to be loved; the desire for security; the hope for a time when we are free from fear. And this is why the Christmas season can be such a vulnerable time for the likes of us. Even in a time of much shopping and partying, the deeper longings seem to come closer to the surface during the holiday season.
As I make my way through public spaces during the Christmas season, I am impressed by the prevalence of messages that speak to these deeper longings. If people would stop to think about the ever-present Christmas music they would hear words that speak to their deeper longings, even in the midst of the commercialism that surrounds us. “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” “No more let sin and sorrow reign.”
There are special opportunities at this time of year to tell vulnerable people about a Savior who has come that we might have new life. But in order to tell that wonderful story to others, we need to hear it anew ourselves. Our deepest longings can be fulfilled in Christ! True joy is possible because of what happened long ago in Bethlehem!
I hope that the Christmas story can speak in new and powerful ways in our lives this year. There is no more effective way to proclaim joy to the world than to testify to the ways in which Bethlehem’s Babe has given joy to our own longing hearts.