Shortly before his death, former Beatle George Harrison was asked about his spiritual journey. The question was appropriate since it was Harrison who introduced The Beatles to Eastern religion in the 60s and (after the group broke up) wrote the song My Sweet Lord (a hymn of praise to the Hindu deity Krishna). Until the end of his life, Harrison continued to investigate spiritual matters. He summed up his priorities this way: “Everything else in life can wait, but the search for God cannot wait.”
It was Ignatius of Loyola who once said if you are looking for God, God will find you. I believe that to be true. I suspect many of us are searching for God, even if we don’t care to admit it.
David Bowie died in January 2016 aged 69. He was immensely popular, a music icon I guess, who is still revered today. He experimented with a number of different religious belief systems during his life and career, including Christianity, though in a 2003 interview the singer suggested he was closer to being an atheist. “I honestly believe that my initial questions haven’t changed at all. There are far fewer of them these days, but they’re really important. I have always questioned my spiritual life. It’s because I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s that little bit that holds on—well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months,” he said at the time. He seemed to use his music as a means of searching for God.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the man who had lost his keys and he was standing at the edge of the street right underneath a street lamp looking for his keys. A neighbour saw him and walked over to help. After a few minutes of searching:
- Neighbour: “Exactly where was it you dropped your keys?”
- Man: “Well, I was in my house.”
- Neighbour: “Well then, why are you looking out here?”
- Man: “Because the lights are better out here.”
It is a truth that we have known for a long time—you will never find what you are looking for unless you look in the right place. Many people today are looking for God but they are looking for him in all the wrong places. Maybe this Christmas season is a good place to start in your search for God.
The account of Jesus’ birth in the gospels tells about the shepherds out in the field minding their own business. But Luke says: “After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about’. They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay”. (Luke 2:15-16). Finding Jesus suddenly became their first priority—nothing else mattered.
It certainly made a tremendous impact on them, for Luke says in verse 20, “as the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him.”
The shepherds looked in the right place and found Jesus. Do you know the search for God can’t wait? No one lives forever—searching for God is good; finding him is much better.
The shepherds found Jesus. Will you? Jesus is as much a cause for celebration for us as for the shepherds. He came for all people; for you and for me. There is nobody who he didn’t come for. There is nothing that anyone has ever done that disqualifies them from being loved by God, loved so much that he sent Jesus to save them.
What did he come for? He came to save us. He is the Saviour, he is the Messiah that God promised to send to save each one of us and to bring about the new creation. He is the Lord. He is God himself, in the flesh, who lived a normal human life for 30 years before he started his ministry. He experienced all the trials and difficulties that we do. God is not distant and lacking understanding of what it is like to be human. He was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago so that he could truly say that he’s walked a mile in our shoes.
We can learn about God through nature, his word, and our inner consciousness. However, we can only find and experience God through a personal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. To find God, we simply need to confess and turn from our sin and accept Jesus as our Saviour. When we do our part, God does his part, that is, he saves us from our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life.
If you have never found God by accepting Christ, you can do so by quietly praying, asking Christ to forgive you for your sins, and inviting him to come into your heart. Don’t say, “I can’t ever find anything!” this Christmas. Find God and discover the one thing that means the most and outlasts all the other gifts.