Options and Limitations
We love to have options. We love Netflix because it gives us thousands of movies to choose from. We love our iPhones because they give us countless apps to use and songs to listen to. We love online shopping because we can choose between different brands, different colors, and used or new.
We love to have options and we find ourselves frustrated when we are left with only one possibility. We would rather be able to choose between many options.
On the other hand, there are times when we would prefer not to have as many options. When you lose your keys, you would rather have only one place where they could be, instead of having to choose between many. When you’re trying to put together a puzzle, you would rather have only one piece that fits instead of several options.
When you’re playing the board game Clue, you would rather know that it could only be Mr. Green, instead of having the possibility that it could be Scarlet, Plum, or Mustard.
When you’re trying to find a solution, having only one possibility is better than having many.
Solving the Mystery
What if you were trying to solve the mystery of determining a solid basis for hope in your life? You start with many possibilities.
You could place your hope in your job, in money, in the security provided by the government, in your family, in your intelligence.
The list could go on. If you were looking for peace, you could try to attain it through breathing exercises and visualization, through religious activities, through owning a gun and a security system, or through appeasing the people around you. If you were to chase after joy, you could chase possessions, romantic love, a dream job, or physical pleasure. If you were looking for love, you could look for it in your parents, your children, your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, or your online friends.
If you were trying to solve the mystery of how to find hope, peace, joy, and love, it might not be a great thing to have so many options. You might find yourself relieved if you were told, “This is the one and only way to find hope, peace, joy, and love.” At least then you would know how to pursue them.
Jesus as The Only
While Christmas is a holiday celebrated by many non-religious people, the basis of the holiday is the birth of Jesus. And each Christmas, Christians around the world celebrate Jesus as our only hope, our only peace, our only joy, and our only love. While this might seem like an audacious claim about Jesus, it is a liberating claim. After all, this means that we can stop looking in all the wrong places and finally pursue the only source of true hope, peace, joy, and love . . . that is, if it is true.
This upcoming Advent season we will celebrate Jesus’ birth by walking through a sermon series called The Only. We will reflect on the many empty ways that we seek life, and we will honor Jesus as the only true source of the life that we so desperately need.