As a kid, the week between Christmas and New Year’s was always full of fun and excitement-- a whole week off school, new toys and clothes, staying up late or getting up early--but it also had this gnawing feeling, an ache, a longing for something more.
This longing feeling always started on Christmas Day. My parents have always been very generous at Christmas time. I think gift-giving is also one of their primary love languages, so that meant there was always quite the pile of wrapping paper to clean up on Christmas day. If a gift had multiple components that could easily be separated—say a pair of socks-- my parents would often wrap each part separately because my siblings and I loved the thrill of opening another gift. Okay, no they didn’t actually wrap socks individually, but you get the idea :)
Since I’m reminiscing about Christmas growing up, I also need to confess that I was “that kid” who was counting how many gifts everyone had under the tree, and I totally would scope out where all my presents were in the days leading up to Christmas.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, after the last box was opened, after frantically searching through the pile of shredded wrapping paper to find your doll’s left shoe, after looking around at your new bounty of loot—it hits you: Is that it? Isn't there something else? The longing for something more sets in. It’s like now that the excitement is gone, the longing for something more begins the fill the void that excitement once filled.
Now as an adult, I’m finding myself feeling that sense of longing more and more. It’s not just after opening Christmas presents; it’s after a great coffee date with a good friend, after a long embrace, after finishing a great book or blockbuster hit, after the sun goes down on a sunny summer day, at the end of a great vacation, following the last bite of a refreshing meal. That sense of longing for something more is there. It’s there gnawing at positive memories or experiences - eating away, just a little bit, at those happy moments.
I really struggle with how to respond to this longing feeling. For most of my life, I thought that longing feeling was a bad thing. I told myself that the longing for more indicated I wasn’t thankful enough for whatever experience just finished. I didn’t savor those moments enough. While some of those thoughts may have a hint of truth in them, recently the Holy Spirit reminded me of a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes which puts a whole new meaning on this sense of longing: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (3:11).
This longing feeling—the longing for something more, something greater—is God’s reminder that He has something much greater planned. This truth is no more apparent than through Jesus. Jesus told us in John 10:10 that he came that we may “have life, and have it abundantly.”
During this Christmas season, when you find yourself in moments of longing for something more, search no further: Jesus is offering you the abundant life your heart so earnestly desires. He promises us rest for our weary souls (Matthew 11:28), freedom from the brokenness (Isaiah 61:1), balance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), abundant life (John 10:10), and so much more.
We’re SOOO excited to have you join us next week as we launch our Kickstarter campaign for Ashley’s new book Living Wellness for Growth Groups. The campaign launches January 1st!! Stay tune to learn more about the biblical concepts of freedom, balance, and abundant life that Ashley further addresses in Living Wellness for Growth Groups.
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Caitlyn J. Hanson
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.