You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.Psalm 16:11
So often we look for life outside of God.
We seek it in possessions. We seek it in accolades, in success, in career advancement. We may even seek it in particularly insidious ways, in striving to do good things for God while failing to recognize the importance of being with Him.
We gorge ourselves—on media, entertainment, food, even on exercise simply to find something “worth living for.” And when these things fail to satisfy, at least they numb us, right?
As Augustine tells us, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. They
have hungers and longings that, when not satisfied in God, will continuously search for something else to slake their thirst. None of us is immune. Too often we fail to avoid the hamster wheel—instead we simply baptize it.
In our hurry to fill our lives with things that feel “meaningful”—that will give us a sense of joy, pleasure, or “life”—we overlook the very thing—the One—who is Life Himself.
When we slow down enough to be with Him, when we cease our striving and our hurry enough simply to be, we are then able to receive what He has been longing to give us all along: joy. Life. Eternal pleasures.
Aren’t these what we so deeply yearn for? Don’t our souls hunger and thirst for these? To be filled to overflowing with joy? To be assured beyond doubt that we have life? To experience truly good pleasures forevermore?
We can have these things—in Him. And yet, we receive them when we don’t merely seek the things themselves. We receive them when we love and are with the Source of these gifts. The Giver Himself.
Here in the Advent season we remember that God in Jesus Christ has made the Father known to us. Immanuel: God is with us. Jesus Christ is the Way—He is the Path of Life. And He fills us with joy eternal since He has filled us with His Spirit—His presence is always with us.
As the busyness of another holiday season threatens to steal our joy, life, and pleasure—and as the culture around us offers us hollow alternatives—may we take time to be with our Immanuel. He is with us. Let us be with Him, and humbly receive the joy, pleasure, and life He richly supplies.
This devotional, by Jessica Schroeder, has been previously published in print and online in Denver Seminary’s 2022 Advent Devotional.