No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
Maria had it right. One of my favorite movies is the Sound of Music. In the movie, the kids are scared to death and Maria says that when she is afraid she thinks about some of her favorite things. Her list, though different from mine, was pretty impressive. It was a different time and a different country, but I could still identify with several things. Remember her list? It had things like raindrops on roses; whiskers on kittens; bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; brown paper packages tied up with strings; cream-colored ponies and finally something I really like—crisp apple strudel. Like I said, a different time and different place.
But she was right—when the dog bit, when the bee stung, or when she was feeling sad, she simply remembered a few of her favorite things. Which brings me to one of my favorite things and like her list—this favorite thing is gone. The world when I was growing up was so different from today. No cell phones, no internet, no cable television, or satellite television—it was a smaller world. Things moved slower, more gently. The saying, “You are slower than Christmas” was born in those days. It seemed like Christmas simply took forever to come around. Christmas was a time for wishing…a time for dreaming…about favorite things.
There were several big department stores back then. Names like Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney’s, and Spiegel were as common as Walmart is today. If you lived in a larger city, you could actually go to the big stores. If you didn’t, every Christmas, the store would come to you. It was called the Christmas Wish Book and every one of the big stores had one. It would arrive late in the fall and was well over an inch thick and everything you could imagine, or wish for, was there in full living color. I really can’t describe what it was like when this dream-world arrived in our mailbox.
I would sit down and slowly go through the pages and pages of the toy section. It was amazing. Eventually I might make it through the other stuff, but it was the bright shiny toys that really caught my eye. Some things were so amazing they were beyond my ability to even wish for. But I would go through the pages and slowly make a list of my favorite toys…my favorite things. Sometimes I sent the list directly to Santa, but I also dropped hints to his secret agents—Mama and Daddy. This one thing I know. Christmas morning never grew old. I couldn’t wait to see what dream or what wish had come true.
When the Wish Book came, I knew that everything I wished for wouldn’t happen, but it was the Wish Book that kept the magic, the hope of Christmas alive. It was the list of favorite things that made my small world on the corner of Carlton and Wheat Roads seem bigger, more hopeful. Sadly, now with the exception of a smaller version of Penney’s, those stores are gone—victims of online shopping. And with them the Wish Book disappeared. I can still remember when it made the news that Sears and Roebuck was going to discontinue their Christmas Wish Book. It was a favorite thing that all the websites in the world can’t replace.
But there is one Wish Book that just endures and endures—it is the ageless, timeless Word of God. We call it the Bible. Now it is not a Wish Book like the stores put out. It’s not a matter of flipping through the pages and making a list that God has to fulfill to prove He is God. No, this Wish Book is much bigger and grander than that. This Wish Book is a book of hope, a book of grace, a book of love. In fact, it says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
From the beginning to the end, it tells one continuous story—God loves us enough to provide a way to bring His beloved human race back into relationship—to fellowship with Him. The Wish Book from the stores was filled with toys and prices even Santa couldn’t afford. But not God’s. His greatest gift comes prepaid. The price was the birth, (we call it Christmas), and death, (we call that Easter), of His Son. And the best part—when He died, He didn’t stay dead. And all we have to do is believe and trust in Him and He will give us the greatest gift ever—eternal life.
But wait—it doesn’t stop there. Every page is not only filled with the hope of a future with Him—it is the promise of today, and tomorrow, filled with Him, too. When we trust Him and believe—He promises that He will never, ever leave us. Every day we can have the assurance that He will walk with us. While that always meaningful, these days it is priceless. In our turbulent, upside-down, uncertain world—He is rock steady. He is good, He is faithful, and He can be trusted.
So, each fall I would patiently wait—ok, impatiently wait—for the Wish Book to come so I could dream of Christmas morning. Well, the wait is over, and the dream is past. Why not spend sometime today in the Wish Book of Wish Books—the Bible? Be assured and warmed by the promises of His love and peace. Be assured of the fact that we can rest knowing that an uncertain future is in the hands of a certain God. Be assured that no matter what, we know that He’s got this.