It’s December 26, 2016. The gifts have all been opened much to our glee or – perhaps — our utter disappointment. Did you find the perfect gift under your tree this year?
I spent a good while musing yesterday – not so much over a gift as over a tree.
Not our tree — although perhaps I should spend more time musing over our tree. With each subsequent set of lights having gone out, it looks more like a barber pole than a proper Christmas tree.
But I digress.
It wasn’t our tree. It wasn’t the cross.
Believe it or not, it was another tree entirely.
I know. Who thinks of Zacchaeus’ tree on Christmas? (Cue Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys: Believer’s Edition).
Zacchaeus, a despised, wealthy tax collector was, we’re told, small in stature – a condition that – in a crowd — precluded his clear line of sight.
Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus over the crowd.
Short peeps can relate.
Pause here for a moment – especially those of you who know how the story proceeds.
Zacchaeus could not see because something stood between himself and Jesus.
Yet, he must have had a great desire to see Jesus.
How do we know this?
Because when Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus, he RAN ahead of the crowds and CLIMBED a tree.
Now, let me ask you: who does this?
Or, to ask another way, when was the last time you ran anywhere and climbed anything to see anybody? Or anything?
What motivates a person to put forth that sort of effort?
It’s a question I hope all consider.
What – or who – holds your ultimate affection?
Now, to be clear, Zacchaeus didn’t earn Jesus by running and climbing. Rather, his running and climbing indicated something about the posture – or the inclination — of his heart.
If I was a speculating sort of gal, I would imagine – from what we know both about Zacchaeus and (ahem) human nature — that his inclination to see Jesus sprang from having already seen just about everything else.
Here was a guy who could likely buy, wrap, and place whatever he wanted under a tree. (Yes. I know they didn’t have Christmas trees back then. Just work with me.)
Yet, somehow, it all fell short. (Sorry.)
Zacchaeus, I speculate, had reached an end of sorts. He’d been there, done that.
ALL of that.
Still hungry. Still thirsty.
And Zacchaeus didn’t merely catch a glimpse from afar. No. Jesus invited himself over to Zacchaeus’ house.
Zacchaeus’ response? He “received him joyfully.” (Luke 19:6)
The crowds were removed. Nothing — no one — stood between them.
Zacchaeus had a clear line of sight, and what he saw — whom he saw – was glorious.
So glorious, in fact, that everything paled in comparison.
You can have your ol’ fruitcake back. In fact, take half of what I own.
I received the perfect gift today.
Turns out, He’s all I ever wanted.