You know the song. It’s one of the most iconic ever written. When U2 proclaimed, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” they tapped into something so deeply wired in our DNA that it seemed humanity had finally found its anthem.
It also happens to be one of my favorite Christmas songs.
Yep. It’s a Christmas song. You won’t hear it on holiday radio stations or in Macy’s as you shop, but make no mistake. It’s a Christmas song.
Okay, okay. Maybe it’s a better post-Christmas song.
I think those lyrics quietly start resonating around January 1st. It begins as a low hum when the intrigue and mystery of giving and receiving gifts begins dissolving. The thing-a-ma-bob we wanted most begins looking a bit different, almost like some grinch buffed the new off of it. The exclusive time spent with family and friends comes to an unfortunate close. The grinding gears of school and work threaten to restart their turning.
And that’s about when it hits us — maybe not all at once, but it starts to become more evident as days pass. We still haven’t found what we’re looking for.
Which begs the question: What ARE we looking for?
The blog-friendly quick answer is happiness, but not the garden-variety. We both consciously and subconsciously seek sustained happiness, and in doing so, we seek something that we’ve not yet tasted, nor will we this side of eternity.
But God, in His astonishing grace, gives us flashes. Little happiness depth-charges. You know the ones…. In the music that makes your hair stand on end like soldiers. In the perfect bite of food that makes your palette sing and eyebrows dance. In the warm embrace of love. In the breath-drop beauty of creation.
Like signposts on a journey, these things were designed not to be our unending happiness, but to point us towards a happiness with no end; towards a day when we will finally stop giving ourselves to lesser things, expecting them to bear the weight of our worship.
So maybe the trick this Christmas season isn’t in trying to wring sustained happiness out of our experiences, but in letting our experiences point us to the God who says, “find in Me what you’re looking for.”
If you’d like to “look” a bit deeper, check out the terrific book Look and Live, by Matt Papa.
Authored by NCC Assistant Pastor Jonathan Valletta northcentral.org