The Christmas Gift of Presence
But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten. The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:12–14 The Message
So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. James 1:16–18 The Message
So often Christmas becomes about the presents — what we are excited to get someone, what we are excited to receive ourselves, the gift we have to buy for the person who is impossible to buy for, the gift we want to buy but just can’t seem to find. Presents.
Now I’m not gonna be all Pastor Grinch and tell you that presents have no place in Christmas. God loves generosity and joy — they are characteristics and practices that actually reflect his character, his image. Celebrate the presents aspect of Christmas. At the same time, don’t let it own you — what if you didn’t get a present for that person who you only get one because you feel obligated to do so? What if you gave someone this gift of time — a hand made card with an appointment for a movie, golf, lunch, together? Do the “presents thing,” but give yourself a break at the same time. After all, Christmas is supposed to be a jolly time.
The presence of Jesus is a gift that precedes and predates. It is above, below, before and beyond any gift you or I can ever give or will ever receive. It, he, is the gift that provides the context for all else that we do. It is the present that gives us the ability to have real presence with those we know and with those we do not. God’s presence if the greatest present, in him we become our true selves, the crown of his creatures. His presence is a gift that it you don’t have to wait until Christmas to unwrap and put on.
Peace, hope and love Doug