Christmas, Keeping the Faith

Silencing the “Fill ‘er Up” Mentality

In the largely bygone era of driveway service you would pull up beside a fuel bowser, wind down the window and holler, “Fill ‘er up mate!” at the waiting attendant.  It’s a directive that would come in handy at other such empty moments.

On Mother Hubbard days, when the bank account is useless to address the lack of items in the pantry.
“Fill the piggy bank!”

On Sleeping Beauty days, when you’re feeling lovelorn, neglected and your partner’s aversion to romance is making you mope.
“Fill the love tank!”

On Hansel and Gretel days, when you just want to eat yummy food and visions of macarons, melting moments, Monte Carlos and mud cake trip loop-de-loops in your head.
“Fill the craving!”

On Snow White’s Evil Stepmother days, when you just have to have that new strapless metallic ruched dress with the Swarovski crystal trim so that you’re the “fairest of them all”.
“Fill the wardrobe!”

What’s with this built-in desire to be full?  If it’s not a yearning for tangibles like food, wealth and beauty, it’s for acceptance, love, peace, provision, hope and identity.  “I just want to be ful-filled!” seems to be humanity’s cry.

Christmas is a particularly full time.  We fill the calendar, fill the Christmas tree, fill the fridge, fill the stockings, fill the gift list, fill the wine glass…  Where does it end?  Because, at the end of all our “fill ‘er up” activity, the fulfillment is fleeting at best, and it’s not long before we’re chasing another mirage of betterment.

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Jesus said this to a huge crowd of people gathered to hear him speak his revolutionary message of hope.  Jesus is the embodiment of righteousness and it’s certainly no stretch to interpret the Matthew verse as meaning that those who hunger and thirst for Jesus will be filled.

This is confirmed later, in John 4:13-14 when Jesus tells a woman drawing water from a well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life!” (Exclamation mark my own – I felt a statement like that deserved it).

When we accept Jesus into our lives, he is that inner spring that flows out to fulfill our every need.  When we divert our yearnings, desires, cravings, needs and those empty spaces which no words can define to a hunger and thirst for God, there is simply no state of being that is more full and in tune with the purpose of this life.  No matter what your circumstances – I promise!

There’s an unholy din that Christmas brings and I’ve been struck this year in particular how important it is to silence the distractions and drink our fulfillment from the precious gift that God sent in his son Jesus.  He is the reason for the season and nothing, nothing, nothing will quench us like his love.

First published in The Examiner newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday December 9, 2013.

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4 Comments

  1. This is all so true Claire, thank you.

    Psalm 34 also speaks to this. Here are a few verses:

    ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.’ (Psalm 34:8-10 NIV)

  2. John Wigg says

    Silencing the “Fill ‘er Up” mentality reminds of the following lines from St Augustine’s autobiographical, devotional classic The Confessions:

    “…Yet it is true that I love a certain kind of light and sound and fragrance and food and embrace in loving my God, who is the light and sound and fragrance and food and embracement of my inner man — where that light shines into my soul which no place can contain, where time does not snatch away the lovely sound, where no breeze disperses the sweet fragrance, where no eating diminishes the food there provided, and where there is an embrace that no satiety comes to sunder….”

    Consumerism is an eternally fatal idolatry: “Goods and services aplenty” are poor, dishonest substitutes for the only good God, whose Son came “not to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many”.

  3. Thanks Claire. Really appreciate your voice that speaks truth in our society 🙂 you are my hero

  4. Thanks Claire for another beautiful and insightful post.

    Your words remind me of Jesus’ promise to us in John 10:10 that he came to bring us life abundant, in all its fullness.

    Not a life full of stuff and things and prestige, fortune and fame. But rather a life of love, hope, forgiveness and eternal salvation. A life of healing and restoration and deep relationship, both with others and our Creator.

    The push and pull of consumerism is a trap that would lock us up and relentlessly drive us to achieve and accumulate more, more, MORE without any hope of fulfilment, satisfaction or release. It is a trap that I am more than ever actively seeking to be freed from! Not just for myself, but for my family, my community, for those who work tirelessly for a meagre wage and for our environment.

    May the words of Jesus bring hope and freedom for all of us in deeper ways this Christmas!

    Blessings.

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