Many people all over the world will celebrate Christmas. Despite what may be the situations, circumstances, or obstacles, many will still show off their amazing displays of lights and trees; there will be shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Festive sounds, beautifully wrapped presents, and tasty treats will be plentiful. Busy highways, busy airports, train stations and bus terminals will be filled with travelers trying to reach their destinations … just so that they can be with their loved ones for Christmas … to give and receive gifts and to enjoy the presence of one another. It is so easy to get lost in the “presents” and become so consumed with the celebrations that we forget what Christmas is really all about.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23). He was born of the Virgin Mary. He was wrapped in cloth and placed in the manger among the animals because there was no room in the inn (Luke 2:7).
No showy lights and no grand displays, no shopping sprees, no crowded airports, no jingle bells, and no mistletoe, yet the greatest “Presence” had arrived: Immanuel – “God with us.”
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights… (James 1:17). Is not Immanuel – “God with us” the greatest presence ever?
His presence changes everything. It changes how we think, what we do, where we go, and where we will spend eternity. Difficult situations and circum- stances and even the greatest temptations all look different because God is with us. In His presence, we experience blessings and fullness of joy. You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). His presence is our hope and confidence as we navigate through this journey called life. No need to fear because we are never alone, Immanuel is with us.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6). He is the Wonderful Counselor who gifts us with the Spirit of truth, that teaches, leads, and guides us daily. He is the Mighty God who allows us access to His power and strength to fulfill the purpose for which He created us. He is the Everlasting Father providing us the gift of eternal life. He is the Prince of Peace who gives us peace within and around us. No need for the hustle and bustle to experience the true meaning of Christmas. Our Savior has been born; He is the Messiah, the Lord. Celebrate the One who came to deliver us from our sins.
Celebrate by acknowledging His presence and receiving His gift of forgiveness and salvation. His presence is to have the joy of Christmas all year long.
The greatest Christmas present is His presence!
Dr. Stephenia Christian-Burgess is a member of Newark Bible Fellowship Church, New Jersey where her husband Ron is the pastor.