Presents…Or Presence?

The commercialism of Christmas is in high gear.  Amazon trucks are rolling.  Malls are packed.  Trees and tinsel prepare for the Christmas Day “loot.”

Can we take a step back and “taste” of Christmas as well as “buy” it?  What will remain of our Christmas holiday long after the “presents” are put away…or exchanged?  “Presence.”

There is a “presence,” an atmosphere in Christmas that’s about a lot more than Santa Claus.

It is a Person:  JESUS.  The one who left the glory of heaven behind to step into this sin-cursed world.

The one who tasted of our humanity.  He felt the womb, the birth process, the hay in a stable.  He grew up in the small town of Nazareth in an insignificant carpenter’s home. 

He lived, He loved, He healed, He died on a cold, rough cross buried under our sins.

He rose from the grave three days later when He had finished the problem of sin. 

Now, He is seated in heaven, praying continually for us as we pass through the daily difficulties of life.

HERE, FOR ME, IS THE “PRESENCE” OF CHRISTMAS:

1.   My sins are gone.

It’s not that I’m perfect (my wife can verify that!).  It’s that I’m forgiven.  I am “washed white” in the crimson blood of Christ.  My conscience is completely clean and does not torment or weigh me down.

I feel forgiven 365 days a year.  Christ’s forgiveness, peace, and joy are like bells that never stop ringing in my heart.  “Presence.”

2.  I love other people.

Of course, I love my family.  That’s normal.  What’s not normal is that I feel like every other human being is my family. 

God has put the supernatural love of Christ into my heart.  I love every shape, size, and color of people.  I love every nation and denomination.  I love someone who disappoints me.  That has to come from God’s “presence.”

3.  I feel direction.

God’s “presence” directs me.  Israel followed a cloud in the wilderness.  They were never “lost.” 

I never feel “lost.”  I sense Christ living inside of me and His Holy Spirit’s voice guiding me like a shepherd.  I know I can make some decisions without Him (like which brand of milk to buy).  However, many times every day I come to a moment I ask for His guidance.  “Presence.”

4.  I feel hope.

The suicide rate has become alarming.  The WHO reports that 800,000 people take their lives every year (one every 40 seconds).  They may have plenty of “presents” but no “presence.”

God’s presence in my heart tells me life is going to be “ok.”  Things will work out, life is more than possessions, positions, and prestige.  Whatever I lose, whatever goes wrong, I still have one constant:  “presence.”

This “gift” is free.  It was expensive.  It cost Christ His life. 

Unwrap it today.  Invite Christ to enter your heart and change your world.  Let his “presence” replace anything else of value. 

Is your focus this week on “presents”…or presence?