Sunday, December 21, 2014


THERE IS A CHRISTMAS I REMEMBER, when our two oldest were still quite young.  It was Christmas Eve, and they were tucked into bed waiting with eager anticipation for the first morning light and the opportunity to open the gifts that lay beneath the tree.

Therein, for me at least, was the problem. Both sets of grandparents had descended upon our home and you could not see the whole of the living room floor due to the over abundance of gifts. (Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.)  I remember sitting on the couch at one end of the living room and gazing over the sea of gifts brought by grandparents set to outdo each other. I recall tears in my eyes for I knew that that this is not what I desired my Christmas to be, a room littered with wrapping paper and toys and clothes and more!

I was saddened, maybe even a little mad, at the over-expenditure and over-doing that was before me. I knew that it missed the point of the giving of gifts.  Presents at Christmas time are to remind us of God’s great gift in His only Son (John 3:16-17), but though as extravagant as the heavenly Father’s Gift was, it was also a simply-wrapped Gift of Love. A Gift not without glory, but a glory hidden; to be revealed as the Gift walked among us.

This Gift of God was more than a present from a gracious God, it was His very Presence among us. The Gift, Immanuel, God with us, and who is with us this very day.

The gifts that covered my living room floor decades ago are long gone, the wrappings decomposing in some landfill, and the presents long forgotten. There is no need to feel despondent. It’s that way with earthly, material presents. This should make us all the more grateful for God’s eternal Presence that does not decay nor diminish over time, but grows ever greater with each passing day.

This Advent may your living room and your heart be filled with the Presence of the LORD!

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