This cool Christmas morning I find myself with a strange mix of gratitude and longing. I am blessed beyond description and am indeed the richest man I know in the measures that matter. I was given some very sweet and thoughtful gifts for which I am tremendously grateful.
In the midst of the gratitude there is still a longing for something that is yet to come.
This is the same sentiment that I think is so beautifully captured in the longing celebration of this song – beautifully rendered here by a group called Vineyard:
This song is rich with longing – the plea ringing, “O Come, O Come…” like the longing of a prisoner in hope of deliverance.
And yet it is a call to celebrate the reality of Emmanuel’s coming – “Rejoice! Rejoice!”
There is a beautiful simplicity in it. It captures what I am more and more convinced every day is the needful condition of our hearts. There is a gratitude-infused dissatisfaction with life the way it is – the way WE are. It is a peace in the present simultaneous with a longing for where we will be.
A grateful discontent.
This Christmas and every day going forward, may we be blessed with the grace to find this grateful discontent that relishes the joys of each moment and yet leans forward into the becoming that yet remains, It is that mingling of thankfulness for all that God has done and a hunger for what He is yet intending. It’s what makes us enjoy life here while still longing for that home to which we have never yet been. It’s the grace to recognize how far God has brought us and yet long for more of HIs grace in our becoming.
Let us rejoice because Emmanuel – GOD WITH US – has surely come to us. But let us, at the same time, long for more of His coming, His renewing of us, and His ultimate consummation of our blessed hope of an eternity in His presence.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)