Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas is for the Hungry


    I don't really love to cook. I looove to bake, and make candy, but I don't really get into making "real" food. However, back in the beginning of December, I was taken captive by an idea. I really wanted to make dinner for my husband and all his co-workers, and take it up to their shop. Even I was a little surprised- where did this craziness come from? But, because I love to fill my plate beyond full, I decided to make it happen.

   So now, in my kitchen, there are the ingredients to make dinner for over 20 people. And I started to get a little nervous. *What* was I thinking? These people are not needy! Why was I so intent on feeding them? And then, a little Voice said," Jesus came to feed the hungry, not just the needy. And everyone is hungry."

   Everyone is hungry. We are looking for something to fill that hole. In our stomachs. In our hearts. In our lives. And isn't that what Christmas is all about?

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." John 1:14a

"For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink." John 6:55

   He knew our souls were starving, He knew our minds and hearts were empty. He came so that He could fill us, so that we need never know that gnawing, biting, all-consuming ache again. He made Himself into the very thing that we needed most, the thing we were literally dying without. 

   And the Word has always spoken of the importance of recognizing the parallels between spiritual and physical hunger. One of my favorite passages from Isaiah says,

"“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke
  Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 
 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. "
                                               Isaiah 58:6-9 (NIV) 

    Jesus knew all about hunger. He fed the thousands more than once. He came to show us that satisfying physical hunger is often the first step to healing spiritual hunger. We break down walls when we break bread together. Those men my husband works with- do they *need* my food? No, probably not. But I know they are hungry, in more ways than one. And if I want my "light to break forth like the dawn" then I am commanded to share my food with the hungry.

    Christmas is about satisfying needs. We see "wants" run a muck this time of year, but we fail to recognize that Christmas is for the hungry. He came to feed the hungry- and not one of us is excepted from that title. And if I have already been filled, if my deepest desire has been met- then I am commanded to pour out, to give much, to follow Him in feeding the hungry. And so maybe, that is where all of this craziness came from. This need to make a meal, is really about meeting a need. Maybe by satisfying one small physical want, I can show them Who can satisfy every want. He came so that we would never hunger again.

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35 (NIV)

   So this Christmas, may you be full. May the Bread of Life, the only One who can satisfy all your desires dwell among you. And may you be able to share the fullness of His love. Merry Christmas!

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