In so many homes, few times eclipse the feeling of Christmas morning.
Children and parents, maybe other family members or close friends, a dog or two with tails wagging, gathered round a trimmed tree, lights and eyes aglow, surrounded by the waking aroma of coffee, amid a blur of squeals and giggles and shredded wrapping paper, reflecting in so many ways the spirit of the season of good news and great joy.
But in many circumstances, a keen observer may see something else reflected:
A desire for more.
It, of course, is on display in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as people hunt for "great deals."
But when the time finally arrives to open those gifts, many children (or adults, as well) will move from package to package, quickly tossing aside what they've been given, in search of something they think may be bigger, newer, better.
It's a trait endemic to humanity, with us from our very beginning.
We see it in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, kicking aside their paradise for the chance to "be like God."
Lot leaves Abraham to acquire more in Sodom.
The Israelites whine at Moses because they had grown sick of the heavenly bread God provided them for food in the desert.
And on, and on, and on.
And through it all, God calls His people to stop it.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus compares our relationship with Him as the branches to a grapevine.
As branches, we are not able to survive on our own. We need a source of life. And, Jesus says, that sorce of life is Him.
He is the Vine; we are the branches.
He invites us to abide in Him, to stay connected.
Yet time and again, we choose to cut ourselves off, to leave the wonderful, vibrant life in which our Lord sustains us, to chase the "newer, better, bigger, shinier" thing over there.
Yet, just as Adam and Eve, we discover that in the day we do that, we spiritually begin to wither and die.
Today, God invites you to reconnect, to take a moment, as might an observant parent on Christmas morning, to appreciatethe lifegiving and sustaining love and joy our Father has for us, and simply choose to abide in Him.
Connect with our Creator, our Father, our Lord, and discover just how vibrant life can be, ina place and lifestyle wherewe are Better Together.