Years ago Judy Garland belted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz. What a voice and what an expression of wanting to go where we are not. The longing for what we do not yet possess drives so much of our fallen nature at this time of year. Do I really act like I will find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Ludicrous, I say, but I can fall into the trap. Have you exercised control as you shopped for gifts in late November, only to reach for the credit cards now and dash into the malls in a spending frenzy? While this doesn’t describe me this year, thankfully. it certainly has in years past. The apostle, Paul, writing in Philippians, says, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
I often return to the Puritan book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
by Jeremiah Burroughs. The ideas presented there help balance me, reestablish biblical equilibrium. “A godly heart enjoys much of God in everything he has, and knows how to make up all wants in God Himself.” How can something stated so simply carry such deep meaning? It allows for fun (The Puritans have gotten such a bad rep thanks to The Scarlet Letter
and The Crucible
) in all the good things God provides, and yet teaches us how to meet life’s gravest hurts. So my Santa husband can pose next to our pastor’s daughter right after the curtain came down on her as Dorothy in Southern High School’s production of The Wizard of Oz
. Christians can rejoice in Advent without slipping into the excesses that often mar the season. How? By seeing the tender babe in Bethlehem also as the suffering Savior who goes to the cross on our behalf. Connect Christmas and Easter to find the contentment and joy of Christmas.