The most meaningful gifts reveal profound knowledge: The giver knows the recipient well.
To be known … deeply, lavishly and individually … and then to be loved anyway, in spite of our flaws and weaknesses, is the collective longing of humankind.
God knew that about us … and so, on the first Christmas morning, God gave us the gift of His presence.
Our Maker-Creator knows each one of us intimately … every cell, every intention, every thought, every word, every emotion, every experience. Out of that perfect and complete foreknowledge He gave us, “at the right time,” the best … gift … ever,
God with us.
Oh, how we’ve misused and abused, neglected and rejected this Gift. We know we are guilty.
But, when we see the wonder of His with-ness … we want Him!
If you have received Him as the free gift of God He is with you every day, in every place, in every circumstance, in every emotion, in every relationship; nothing is beyond the reach of His presence.
St. Patrick penned a good summation of this truly awesome reality with these words:
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
And King David says it this way:
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me,
And your right hand shall hold me.
He is oh-so-much-more than just our shadow.
He is within us, His Spirit residing inside us, dwelling in our being! That is the unspeakable wonder of God’s John 3:16 Gift!
But wonders never cease …
WE ARE MADE IN HIS IMAGE, which means our presence matters too, more than we ever could possibly imagine.
God said it is not good for man to be alone. The word man has a double meaning which includes all mankind, meaning it’s not good for any human; man, woman or child to be alone. Isolation is the opposite of with.
Isolation is the sharpest tool of pain the enemy uses. If satan can convince us we are not loved, not wanted, not needed, he can convince us of any evil. And he has been doing that for centuries as is evidenced by repeated killings, suicides, and multitudes of harms done daily to one another by multiplied millions.
Christmas came with the Gift of Jesus. We who are called by His name are to become like Him, so… This Christmas give your family the present of presence. Don’t let anyone in your home or near you become isolated!
Give your presence to be with one another. Your children and spouse and others need you, and you need them.
When our son came home with his four kids to visit us during their fall break, giving his wonderful wife a weekend off, he ruled all screens off limits for the entire visit except for the car trip to watch their cousin play his last senior home football game. The result was twofold. First, the two teens thought their dad was the meanest dad ever! (Our kids felt the same way about us, too) But second was that all four engaged with us in conversations. They organized shooting baskets competitions. They teased one another and their Papa, laughed during meals, and yes irritated one another too. But it was REAL family life, real relationships, not false shallow ones online.
Divorcing them from their devices created memories they will remember. Isn’t that what you want for all your effort to create a meaningful Christmas this year?
To help you, support you and encourage you in this giving of your presence, we’ve decided not to post on the blog again until after Christmas. We want to be present with our families too! We will show up on Instragram with our visuals of the names of Jesus, reminders of the gift of His presence.
Be brave, courageous and be present with your family for the next week without looking at screens except to take photos of your family having fun together.
Barbara, Dennis, Laura and Lincoln