This week kicks off the holiday season. Many homes will be bustling with family and friends, pumpkin pie, turkey, cranberries, and Christmas tree shopping (or assembling). There are many gifts to be thankful for and to enjoy. As we partake in them, Jared Wilson encourages us to recognize the “it-ness” of these gifts:
“We cannot really enjoy the good gifts God gives us until he, as their Giver, is our greatest joy. We will be left trying to enjoy his gifts for things they are not, rather than the things they are.
“In Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis credited a close friend with cultivating in him ‘a serious, yet gleeful, determination to rub one’s nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being (so magnificently) what it was.’ John Piper echoes this enjoyment of quiddity, commenting on this kind of awareness: ‘To wake up in the morning and be aware of the firmness of the mattress, the warmth of the sun’s rays, the sound of the clock ticking, the sheer being of things. . . .’
“If I don’t believe the gospel, I will miss out on the joy of the it-ness of things. I will be looking to these things as drugs, as appetite-fillers, as fulfillers, as powers, as gods, as worshipers of the god of myself.
“If steak or wine or coffee or chocolate or anything else other than God is the highlight of my day or the ultimate joy of my heart, my joy is temporary, hollow, thin. But if I believe in the gospel, I can finally enjoy the chocolate-ness of chocolate and the coffee-ness of coffee. Only the gospel frees me to enjoy things as they truly are and as they someday will be.
“The gospel is itself a feast, the culmination of all the legal feasts and the saving sustenance behind the symbolic meal of the Lord’s body at the Communion table. We have to eat his flesh and drink his blood to live, the same way we have to eat food and drink water to live. Without him we will die. But with him we are not set at the table of the divine fellowship to sip on the thin gruel of religion. We are adorned with the best robe, welcomed with a hearty slap on the back, commanded and urged and freed to feast on God’s goodness.
“The heart of God is vast, his grace is free, his gospel is exhilarating.”