Jesus’ Urgency to Save Us, as Seen in a Christmas Commercial

The John Lewis Christmas commercial shown below has a surprise ending. We are led through a traditional story line about a child who can’t wait for Christmas, but there’s a twist at the end. You may wish to watch the ad before continuing, lest my comments ruin the surprise.

As I watched the commercial, I was first reminded of these Scripture passages: It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:34), and God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).

There is something more than a cheerful giver illustrated in this ad, though. Indeed, the young boy is an urgent giver, one who cannot wait to give the gift he has to offer. The hours and days creep by. When will he finally be able to give his gift? Finally, the day arrives, finally!

This seemed strangely familiar to me, that it was speaking to a biblical theme. Then it hit me. Yes! This was Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem, urgent and eager to give us the gift of our salvation, to snatch us from the kingdom of darkness and translate us to the kingdom of light. Scripture has this to say about this almost impatient desire in Him:

  • As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).
  • Jesus exclaimed, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!(Luke 12:49)
  • Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. … Now my soul is troubled, yet what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” … Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”(John 12:23, 27-28, 31-32).

Scripture says that as Jesus’ apostles followed Him up the road to Jerusalem for His final journey, they were “amazed and afraid” (cf Mk 10:32). Fearful of Jesus’ predictions of His own death, the disciples protested, But Rabbi … a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going there? (John 11:8) Finally, seeing Jesus’ determination, Thomas (likely in exasperation) said, Let us also go, that we may die with him (John 11:16).

Yes, Jesus set His face like flint as He journeyed toward Jerusalem, eager to give the gift of salvation. What distress, what impatience until He must have felt until He could give that gift! Resolutely, He went forth with fervor.

Think about these things as you watch this Christmas commercial.

https://youtu.be/pSLOnR1s74o

Let God Find You – As Seen in a Touching Christmas Commercial

It may seem odd to say, “Let God find you.” After all, God knows just where we are. But there is something very respectful about a God who, as Jesus says in the Book of Revelation, stands at the door and knocks.

Even back in the Garden of Eden, as sinful Adam and Eve hid, God walked through the garden and called, “Where are you?”

Yes, God waits until we let him find us, until we open the door of our heart where he knocks, or until we decide to come out of hiding.

But God does knock. He sends us prophets and speaks through creation and His Word to establish a connection with us. He seeks a connection. Let God find you. Open the gift of His offer.

Something of this dynamic occurred to me while watching the John Lewis Christmas commercial below. And while the roles seem reversed, the dynamic is the same. A little girl spies a lonely man on the moon and seeks to get his attention, to connect with him somehow. But the man seems lost in his loneliness. Through perseverance, she reaches him and the connection is opened.

Let God find you. Let Him connect with you this Christmas.

The Measure You Measure Will Be Measured Back to You, as Seen in an Advertisement

There are many biblical texts that speak of being generous to the poor, for to do brings bountiful blessings. Or, put negatively, if we are stingy, we will come up short in our own blessings.

Consider the following verses:

Here is a promise from the Lord:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap (Lk 6:38).

The text goes on to state a clear principle:

For the measure you measure to others, will be measured back to you (Lk 6:38).

The rule of returning proportion:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Cor 9:6).

The Lord the admonishes us with this:

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty (Prov 11:24).

And now a word from our sponsor (a snack manufacturer in the Philippines), illustrating well this text: Who sows sparingly will reap sparingly. You may find that the ad is “clever by half.”

Letting Go of Attachments, as Seen in a Commercial

Life comes with many opportunities to form attachments. Some of them are harmless, but others can be quite harmful to us and to those around us, particularly when they devolve into addictions.

The commercial below humorously points out the downright danger that some attachments can bring and bids us to let go of them; God does the same.

The first step is to realize the burdens that some of our attachments bring. An inordinate attachment to food can lead us to be overweight and/or have other health issues. An overwhelming attachment to accumulating material possessions can cause financial difficulties. An unhealthy attachment to our job can eat away at our free time and take a toll on our personal relationships.

Recognizing the burden that accompanies some of our attachments can be the push we need to work on getting rid of them.

Ask God what attachments you need to let go of or at least reduce. Ask Him to show you the burdens and then to give you the grace to want to be free of them.

A Picture of Brotherly Love in a Commercial

There’s something interesting about the love between brothers and the way in which they show it. There’s a combination of competitiveness and deep love: “I get to hassle you, but no one else had better do that!”

In the video below, although the older boy continually reminds his younger brother who’s in charge, there’s actually some underlying respect in his actions. It’s as if he’s saying, “I know you can take it. I’m just trying to prepare you for life. There’s always going to be someone bigger and stronger than you are, so stay humble!”

When someone else torments the younger boy, however, the older brother steps in. Without uttering a word, he conveys this message: “I’ve always got your back.”

At times, Jesus was pretty tough on His Apostles, but I suspect the situation wasn’t so far removed from what this video shows. Jesus was saying, “I’m getting you ready for something that you can’t handle right now. And remember, I’ve always got your back” (see John 16:12 and Mat 28:20).

Enjoy the video.

Distractions, as Seen in a Commercial

The word “distracted” most literally means to be drawn or pulled aside. When distracted, we lose our focus and may act improperly, unwisely, or incorrectly.

The commercial below depicts a young man trying to play a video game while eating. The results are comical and destructive inside the video game world.

The cosmic battle in which we are engaged, however, is no game, and our distractions can have real effects. Scripture says of Jesus, As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). St. Paul says, But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14).

Along the way in our lives we are too easily distracted. Remember the goal; remember the battle. Pray for the gift to be resolute and singlehearted.
Behold, then, this picture of distraction.

https://youtu.be/iOrog_Wws7E

The Danger of a World Without Walls

God’s commandments can be likened to defensive walls. Every ancient city had such walls to protect its citizens. Even though the walls limited movement, within them people could come and go safely. Outside those walls, all bets were off; things could be dangerous despite the open vistas.

Scripture says,

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you prosper. May there be peace within your walls, and prosperity inside your fortresses.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you” (Psalm 122:7-8).

Today, many relish in tearing down walls, not so much physical ones as moral ones, particularly moral laws that set boundaries and help to determine where one person’s space ends and another’s begins. The #MeToo movement has rightfully protested the fact that many people have transgressed proper boundaries. When that happens, the world is less safe, and abuse becomes commonplace.

Maybe God’s laws, which are like walls or boundaries, aren’t so bad after all. Perhaps we should not have been so joyful in tearing down the walls of God’s commandments through the sexual revolution. Maybe, just maybe, some walls are good.

This video clip presents a humorous picture of our iconoclastic times.