Archive for December, 2012

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” –  2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

Genuine happiness seems to be an elusive commodity these days. Seems it always has been.

Now that the holiday season is upon us expectations are high again this year that the festive season and the New Year will bring happiness to us all. The rush is on to get decorations up, cards in the post, gifts purchased and then try to enjoy the process in the midst of it all.

I don’t know about where you live but in my neck of the woods the traffic is slow and the shops are congested. The economy is bad, the experts tell us, but you can’t see it while walking through our local mall. The shopping frenzy seems more intense than ever.

I just wonder when it’s all over in January if we’ll be a happier lot. I doubt it.

I’ve been doing a lot of serious thinking about happiness in recent years. It might be because I found a few years back that despite the fact that I had just about everything a man could want, I wasn’t a particularly happy individual. I’m sure my friends thought that I was a reasonably happy man from all outward appearances. However, when I was alone, it was an entirely different matter.

When a close friend started talking about exploring the “inner world” I really didn’t appreciate what he was saying so I started probing it more for myself. I discovered that each of us really lives in three “worlds” or perhaps “dimensions” might be a more accurate term.

The first “world” is our own personal  world comprised of what we think and how we feel. In this world we have ultimate control, for the most part. We can choose where to focus our attention at any given time. The second “world” is our environment around us and all that it comprises. Over this “world” we have influence but probably little, if no control. But the third “world” is the eternal world – the one that exists beyond our senses and has an eternal dimension. The eternal world is there whether we acknowledge it or not and ultimately we must all face it’s reality.

Because we exist, we live in each of these three dimensions.

The glory of the Christian world view is that God, who is the personal Author and Creator of everything, broke into our physical realm and invaded our planet. Jesus, God’s Son has come and we celebrate His coming – especially at Christmas. He came to reveal God the Father and shows us the way back to Him.

If given our permission Jesus will enter our  “inner” world and will connect it with the “eternal” world. This is what the Apostle Paul alludes to in the verse referenced above. The follower of Jesus is but a temporary vessel physically but is indwelt with an eternally valuable treasure.

Our world is obsessed with temporary “treasures.” In a consumer-driven society we live by the principle that as we acquire more, our internal happiness gauge will gradually increase. But ultimately it results in being enslaved to a system that will never fully satisfy.

Many think that the hero of Christmas is Santa Claus who will bring everyone the gifts that will give them happiness if they’ve been “good enough.”  But the true hero of Christmas is Jesus Christ Himself who offers us a quality of life that is real and available apart from all material possessions and pressing problems.

This Christmas, as always, God is seeking a permanent dwelling place in our inner world. When His indwelling light shines through us maybe this dark world will look a little brighter to those around us. Maybe that’s what Christmas – and true happiness – is really all about.

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