Luke 24:51-53

While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24:51–53
Had the Bible been written in the Midwest, I firmly believe lilacs would replace lily of the valley and rose of Sharon as the standard of biblical loveliness. Their blossoms create a trail of fragrance unlike any other. They tug at my heart, making me rejoice in their present beauty and long for something hidden far beyond and yet deep within my heart. In Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis describes this emotion:
All joy reminds. It is never a possession,
always a desire for something longer ago
or further away or still 'about to be’.
This joy–where does it come from? This longing–what is its source? This almost knowing what has been and what is about to be–why is it familiar and yet so far away? Why does something as fleeting as a lilac blossom make me yearn for the eternal? And how do I know I will never be complete until I stand eternally in the presence of the Creator whose beauty and fragrance outshines that of flowers that appear for a few fleeting weeks in May?          

Lilac blossoms may not reveal your joyful longing for Jesus, but something surely does–a bird in flight, a panoramic vista, a baby’s smile, the taste of a ripe peach, a perfectly turned phrase, or a song filled with majesty and grace, an athlete moving with dexterity and speed. Whatever takes your breath away as nothing else does, whatever brings tears to your eyes because you know it is close enough to touch and too far away to grasp, whatever makes you long for eternity is the gift God is using to make you long for eternity and for Him.

As humans, we are prone to make gifts, even the gift of good health during a pandemic, our gods. Perhaps God created his to last for only a moment or a season so they can’t fully satisfy us, so we remain hungry enough to seek the Giver of every good gift. The Giver who is long ago and far away and yet still with us and about to be. The Giver who placed the longing for eternity into every heart. The Giver who satisfies each heart with a gift more fragrant than the sweetest flower, more delicious than the finest dish, more endearing than a baby’s grin, grander than the view from a mountain top–the Gift who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in whose presence we will one day shout with joy for eternity. So today, notice, enjoy and appreciate the gifts and then worship the Giver.
Jolene Philo | Author