“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Christmas is all about need.
Every instance of Heavenly intervention on Earth has been in response to human need. For thousands of years, whenever Israel was in an hour of need, God would send a messenger, a prophet or a hero, through whom to rescue them. When the Hebrew people were in captivity in Egypt, God sent Moses to deliver them. When they were beginning to return to sinful ways under King Saul, God sent Samuel to anoint David, who would go on to become Israel’s greatest and most celebrated ruler. When the Israelites in Persia were about to be annihilated by a king’s decree, God sent Esther to plead their case.
God has sent angels, spoken through prophets, stopped the sun, destroyed armies and entire cities, sent fire from Heaven, flooded the Earth, made animals talk, and brought the dead to life, all so that, ultimately, His people would be reminded of their need for Him.
And hundreds of years later, when the People of God were oppressed by Roman rule and desperately longing for a Messiah, God sent His Son to be a Savior.
We have Christmas because we have a need that only God can fill. Our needs for food and water, for shelter and medical care, even for family and human relationships, are dwarfed by our need for God. We need Him to sustain us, to give us breath, to be our joy when we are in pain, to be our Guide when we are lost, to be unconditional Love when we fall back into our lonely, selfish nature. And the need never stops; even on our best days, we will never not need Him.
As the popular 19th Century hymn by Annie Sherwood Hawks and Robert Lowry attests:
I need Thee every hour,
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
I come to Thee.
We even need His help in order to be able to please Him, but there is nothing He loves more than when we recognize that need and call upon Him to fulfill it.
We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything-and loves us still! …He expects from us only what He has Himself supplied.
-A. W. Tozer
It is both the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world to please God. It requires only that we surrender our will and admit our need for Him. When we do, we find that we don’t just need Him in the times when we can see our brokenness, because we were broken all along; He is the One who makes us whole.
This Christmas season, as we celebrate the day God stepped into the world, let us be thankful, and even with all the blessings we enjoy this time of year, remember that He is all we need.