The Presents or The Presence?

The Presents or The Presence?

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,  glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, ESV) 

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23, ESV) 

I flopped back in my chair, proudly admiring the last of the presents wrapped and ready to go under the  tree. I smiled thinking of the fanfare that would be springing from the opening of those gifts. This is the  first year I was ready early… or so I thought. Maybe I was so distracted by the whirlwind of shopping that I hadn’t heard the still small voice, but now that I crossed the finish line, the Holy Spirit spoke.  “What matters most – the presents or the Presence?”  

I glanced over at the lowly nativity scene on the table and then at my pile of presents and was struck by the contrast. My gifts were beautifully wrapped in different colors with coordinating ribbons and bows.  God’s Gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a feeding trough. My gifts had no real lasting value. Toys would be broken, clothes wouldn’t fit, and things would get exchanged, regifted, or lost in  the closet. After 2025 years, God’s Gift keeps on giving – changing lives, delivering from sin and death,  and impacting generations for eternity. 

Jesus laid aside His glory and came down to bring peace, to be love, and be nearer to us. He came to be hope, to take sin, to bear shame, and to conquer the grave.1 He came to deliver us from bondage to our  self-centered sin-sick lives. God put on flesh to be what we desired most – unfailing love (Prov. 19:22).  We don’t have to live as spiritual orphans; Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled back to the Father  and belong to the God of steadfast love. 

Our desperate souls need that more than anything under the tree. The world is looking for love in all the  wrong places. Through the Holy Spirit I carry that Love. The greatest Gift I have to give this Christmas is  Christ in me. As I abide in Him and am led by His Spirit, He will meet others at their point of need and shine into their darkness. How many people are without hope this Christmas? How many are struggling  to get through “the most wonderful time of year?” How many of them have I overlooked in my quest to  get presents under the tree? Where have I failed to be present with someone, seeing them as an  interruption instead of an opportunity? Where has my schedule failed to make room for Him?  

My eyes were opened. My heart was humbled. It turns out that I wasn’t ready for Christmas at all. In  fact, I had almost missed it. It’s not about the presents; it’s about His Presence. 

“Forgive me, Lord, for letting the patterns of this world distract me from what matters most. Align me with Your purposes – to carry Your Presence to this lost and hurting world. Open my eyes to opportunities  to give the Greatest Gift to those who are dying without You. Pierce the darkness. Come and be born  again in this difficult season. Let the Gift that keeps on giving flow freely through me and bring life to many.” 

~Lisa Moore

1”God With Us” by Jason Ingram and Leslie Jordan