Have you been able to get alone with God for even a little while this crowded Christmas season? Just to take a step back from the activities, the decorations, and the presents to ponder anew HIS presence?
I admit this time of year when I should be even more focused on the incarnate Christ, I am usually running myself ragged doing all the things I feel I need to do to make this another “great” Christmas for my family. I know, I know. It’s already great for heaven’s sake. After all, it’s Christmas!
Still, I love doing all of it. The planning, decorating, shopping, wrapping (okay, so I don’t love all of it), cooking, baking, on and on it goes. Some really sacrificial and spiritual things too, you know, like baking cookies for neighbors, shopping for a little girl who hasn’t much at all in this world (not even a family), giving more to missions, buying chickens and goats for the poor in third world countries, etc. You know. All that deeply spiritual stuff. And it is spiritual, truly. It’s all about giving because of Christ’s giving and it makes my heart soar to do it.
But without spending time in and dwelling on His presence, it all becomes merely something else to get checked off my ever growing to-do list and at the end of the day I’m just left tired and all emptied out.
So today I’m pondering His presence. Really, really mulling it over. His presence set me free! When He came, I no longer had to worry about which sacrifice to make, the bull or the doves or the lamb (even though I never did due to the fact that I’m not Jewish and didn’t live during those days). Now, which kind of offering am I to make this time? Should it be a smoke offering, or burnt, or a grain, or a drink offering (I don’t know!)? No more meaningless rituals to cleanse me from my sins (even though I never did those because I’m Baptist). I’d never have to stay after Sunday School another day to write 100 times, “I will not sin. I will not sin.” (Even though I never did have to because I didn’t have weird Sunday School teachers). No! His coming set me free. Free from trying to do and be good enough. His coming paid my sin debt and yours. Christmas made Easter possible.
“You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
THAT’S what I’m celebrating this season. Our freedom made possible because of His coming as flesh to dwell among us.
His coming answered thousands of years of prayers and brought deliverance and freedom to a world groaning under the sheer weight of trying to make atonement for all their sin. I’m sure that on that first Christmas night in the stillness and hush that finally came after all the excitement, you could have heard a collective sigh of relief from a world that was at last set free. Their freedom and ours would be found in that humble baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger (Luke 2:12). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory (John 1:14).
The birth of The Messiah, our long-awaited Deliverer, Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty King, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, God With Us fulfilled all God’s promises He had given throughout the ages.
Promises such as He loves us, He hears our cries, He gives us strength and comfort, His grace is all sufficient, He died for us and we are His.
Promises like Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
And Exodus 33:14, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
So as I enjoy my family and all the food, fun, and festivities, and as I delight in all the kids opening their presents, I’ll be careful to be aware of and ever so grateful for His presence which truly is the best present of all.
My prayer for you is that you are experiencing His presence due to having accepted God’s divine gift of love and deliverance for you through the birth, life, and death of His only Son, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
May God continue to bless us all with His peace and may we be ever mindful that He IS with us and will never leave us. He is worthy to be praised! Hallelujah!
Love and blessings,
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record has been cleared of guilt.” Psalm 32:1-2