Presents or Presence?
As Christmas day nears, even the last minute shoppers have presents on their minds. Some people have been planning their presents for months while others are just beginning to think about it. Some presents are already wrapped and under the tree while others won’t be ready until midnight on December 24.
God planned the greatest present for all of us in the manger scene. This gift was wrapped in a baby. It was God’s presence for the world.
For four hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the God was silent. People waited for a word from God, but there was nothing. No communication. No prophet spoke of God. Just silence.
At just the right time in history, God spoke the Word about His presence:
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose he to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he considered this, an angle of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.” ~Matthew 1:18-23 NIV
The Divine birth announcement to Joseph carried the promise of God’s presence for us all. In Hebrew the name has two parts. The first part of the name is Immanu meaning “with us.” The second part is –el which means God. Put it together to get With Us [is] God. What a tremendous present!
When God broke the silence with the gift of salvation, he came as a tiny helpless baby, the promise of His presence. He desired relationship with us so He became one of us.
The last words Jesus spoke before leaving earth were
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NIV
His presence is there for us when we are lost or lonely, hurting or healthy. His presence comforts and guides us. Always.
Choose His presence in the midst of the busy-ness of Christmas. Celebrate that He is the God who is with us and for us.
Previous posts in the Words for Christmas blog series: Prepare for Christmas; Simplicity in Christmas; Christmas Peace, Not Chaos; Wonder at Christmas; Expectations at Christmas, Traditions at Christmas.
Next in the Words for Christmas blog series: Love