But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
I Corinthians 2:9-12
I had no idea what I would do with “two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree”, but as a boy I was keen for the idea of Christmas lasting for twelve days, with more gifts coming every day. I’m even keener for the idea today! Sounds like great fun! Why does Christmas have to be one day and it’s all over? Why does this have to be the day after Christmas or the start of the post-holiday let down? For Mary and Joseph and the shepherds the wonder and joy was just beginning on this day. There was wisdom in Christians celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, or Christmastide, until the Twelfth Night, the traditional arrival of the Wise Men.
It will take twelve days and more just to unwrap all that Christmas really gives us. There is something worth celebrating today, tomorrow, and forever! Something too wonderful for words or thoughts! So before we take down the tree and the decorations, let’s take some more time to reflect on what God is giving us to receive.
People misread today’s text when they think Paul is talking about the joys awaiting us in heaven when he writes: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”. While it is true that we cannot imagine the greatness of heaven, that’s not what Paul is talking about here. “These words have been applied to the state of glory in a future world; but certainly they belong to the present state.” (Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Whole Bible)
Notice that Paul is talking about the here and now, the incomprehensible wonder of “the gifts bestowed on us by God.” In fact God’s grace-gifts are so unimaginable that God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us “understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.” This is an incredible way of living we can experience now! We do not have to wait for heaven to realize the quality of life “God has prepared for those who love him.” Because “no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God”, the Father gives us His Spirit that we might live in the Son’s transcendent life. Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10), and it is His Holy Spirit who helps us live in His life. The Spirit longs to help you and me live in a way beyond what we can imagine.
So today I want to ask the Holy Spirit to help me know and experience more of Christ’s wondrous life and grace. I want to receive today, and go on receiving and receiving and receiving!
Let’s make Christmas last forever!
- Think about what it means for you to daily receive God’s “indescribable gift”.
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal more and more the wonders of the Gift given to you.