We experience different kinds of happiness. One kind of happiness happens when you get off a rollercoaster screaming with delight, or when you hear something funny and it makes you laugh, or when you eat something really tasty. A child feels this happiness when they see the perfect gift on Christmas morning. But this kind of happiness is momentary and fleeting. Another kind of happiness focuses on your place in the world – being where you belong. This happiness happens when sitting around a table with people who have loved you and made you glad you are alive – or even standing side by side fixing food for the meal to come. This kind of happiness is rekindled when you look at photographs, or reminisce about holidays in the past. As we grow in wisdom, we naturally value the second kind of happiness, the longer lasting kind, over the short-term variety. We prefer to watch children open the presents while we would rather have a good conversation with someone we love. We get more happiness from the conversation than the gift.
God understands our needs. He understands that finding the place where we belong is more important than short-term pleasures. This is why he asks to sacrifice momentary comforts for long-term satisfaction. Because he knows we belong with him. That’s why he made us – to have a relationship with us. This is why he compares his desire for us to an invitation to celebrate with him. God invites us to his house, to share his blessings, to enjoy an everlasting relationship with him. In Revelation 22:17, we read, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” Do you know that? God wants you to be with him. As you feel the happiness of belonging at the holidays, remember where you really belong – with your eternal Father.