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 full-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 fulfilment 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 fulfil 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 fulfilment 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.