The best thing about Christmas is the food. But I don’t mean the food that tends to come to mind at the suggestion.
Eating in Samaria
In John chapter 4, Jesus and his disciples had stopped in the Samaritan town of Sychar for food. But the disciples weren’t aware that their idea of food was different than Jesus’s idea of food.
Part of the reason for this is because the disciples’ assumption about why they were in Samaria didn’t match Jesus’s plans. They saw Samaria as a “fly-over” region, a place you had to pass through to get where you want to be. They didn’t see the half-breed heretic Samaritans as their gospel calling. But the Samaritans did have food and the disciples were hungry, so they were happy enough to stop in Sychar for bread.
But Samaria was not a rest stop for Jesus. Samaria was a field ripe for harvest. Jesus was not there to get bread from the Samaritans; he was there to give Bread to them (John 6:51). And in doing so he would be eating his favorite meal.
When the disciples got back to Jacob’s well with the food they thought they were in Sychar to get, and saw Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman of dubious reputation (three reasons they thought he shouldn’t have been talking with her), they were perplexed. And when they offered him bread, they were even more perplexed to find out that Jesus had already eaten. Somehow he had gotten food they didn’t know about (John 4:32). It just got increasingly confusing when he said that his food was to do the will of his Father (John 4:34). What was the nourishing will of the Father in the spiritual wilderness of Samaria?
It wasn’t until Jesus told them to lift up their eyes and see the harvest (John 4:35), and they turned to see a crowd of Samaritans headed their way that they began to comprehend. The harvest wasn’t merely up ahead in Galilee. There was a white harvest in barren Samaria, where they least expected it. There was bread in the wilderness.
Don’t Miss the Best Christmas Meal
What does this have to do with you and Christmas? Simply this. You might think you know why you are where you are this Christmas. Maybe you’re happy about it or maybe you’re sad or frustrated about it. Maybe you’re stuck in a place you don’t want to be, or maybe you think you’re just passing through this place to get where you want to be. Whatever the case, it’s possible that Jesus’s reasons for you being where you are are quite different than what you think.
Jesus’s reasons for you being where you are might be quite different than what you think.
Jesus often has harvests for us where we least expect them. Be careful not to assume that the real harvest is up the road and where you are is merely a rest stop or a frustrating, delaying detour. Lift up your eyes. The field around you may be whiter than you know. You may be in a field where God has been sowing gospel seeds completely unknown to and unseen by you — and he’s inviting you to reap.
The best meal you’ll ever eat on earth is to do God’s will for you. There’s nothing that tastes better. It was Jesus’s favorite meal. God has a purpose for you right where you are. Whatever you do this Christmas, make sure not to miss out on this feast. It will make all the other Christmas meals and treats taste far better.