I can join many of you who, when asked by our families, “What do you need for Christmas?” can reply, “I don’t need anything. My closet is full. Save your money.” But then I read the angel’s words to Joseph in the Christmas Gospel. “Mary will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
How wrong it is for me to say that I don’t need anything. It reveals my human thinking. For while it is true that my clothes closet is full, the chamber of my soul is empty without Christ. I need a Savior to take away my sins, and only Jesus Christ can do that. That is a gift money cannot buy.
“The clothes closet is full but the chamber of my soul is empty” is a verbal picture that describes our lives. When we talk about a full closet, reference is being made to the many blessings we enjoy. Here are a few of them:
1. Adequate income for a comfortable lifestyle.
2. Good education and work skills.
3. Loving family.
4. Cars, boats, golf clubs, and travel opportunities.
5. Carefree life where I am in control.
While this closet of material goods and earthly pleasures may full, the chamber of the soul can be empty. Here are some examples:
1. Grief over financial loss.
2. Poor healthÑyour own or a loved one’s.
3. Dysfunctional family.
4. Nagging guilt.
5. Problems with no conceivable human answers.
It is to the “empty chamber” that our text speaks. Listen to what God says: “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ÔJoseph, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'”
The chamber of my soul will remain empty unless Christ lives there. When he has taken up residence in my life, things are different. When sin is forgiven, God enters into a personal relationship with us. He is our Father, and we walk through life with Him by our side. How does He make life different?
1. Guilt is taken away. Think what it is to place our heads on the pillow at night and know that as far as east is from the west, so far our transgression is taken away. We are given strength to confess our sinsÑfirst to God, and then to the person we have wronged, and then ask for forgiveness. All those ugly thoughts and strained relationships can belong to the past, according to God’s promises. This might not add up, according to man-made religion, but it is the grace of God, which is the central truth in our Christian faith.
2. Divine guidance and strength is given to know how to deal with what seems to be an impossible situation. We get a new sense of values. We learn, for example, that the credit card may not be good for us. They are to be used for convenience and emergencies, but not to acquire something we cannot afford. You ask if Christ gets into such practical matters as this? Yes, He does. That is part of our personal relationship with Him, and he wants the best for us.
3. Christ helps us handle our emotions. Expressions of anger can be controlled when He carefully counsels us to “be still and know that I am God,” and so we listen. It will do no good to be angry. Christ can bring our short fuse under control. It’s better for us in all ways to grin and bear it until we have reached a more rational state of mind.
In a time when we wonder about earthly leaders, we remember that Christ is Lord for all eternity. This does not mean we should be apathetic in choosing our earthly leaders. God’s Word tells us about our responsibility to government, but never should we think that humans have the last word. Not so. Christ is Lord of all.
And when our last breath is to be taken, the voice of Jesus speaks in the chamber of our souls and says, “I have prepared a place for you in the heavenly habitations.” What an assurance!
So you see, even though our closet may be full, the chamber of our soul can be in great turmoil unless Christ is present. We may not need another thing to hang in the closet, but we do need a Savior to speak to us daily from the closet of our soul.