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Christmas Presence


December 2023

It amazes me the irony that the commemoration of the birth of Jesus brings. On “Black Friday”, an entire economy is boosted by the end of the year purchases made by people looking to find gifts for Christmas … or most likely gifts for themselves.  The emergence of “cyber-shopping” has stemmed the tide of frenzied lines and even violent confrontations by shoppers, but commercialism still has a diluting effect of what God means for us to know. So, without further delay, let’s remember:  

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:8-15


Notice what the sign to the shepherds was: a baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger. It was NOT the thing that happened next – a company of heavenly host who made the most impressive and important public announcement in the history of HiStory.

Imagine how impressive that must have been!

But that was NOT the sign.

It is Jesus, not the things that accompany him, but Jesus, himself. Most of us are atuned to this already, but in case you’ve forgotten, or other things get in the way … a lost job, a divorce, lost health and strength, the death of a loved one, the chronic and costly illness of a child or family member, recovery after an accident or major health event, relapse into substance or mental health fracture …


Hear the good news! “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”


His for rests on you, today – and forever more.

I hope you get presents – but it doesn’t matter if you don’t get what you want. It’s more important that you realize that it’s His PRESENCE that matters.

And the presentation of your presence to him … Ah, now that is Christmas joy!


Random:

Sean’s currently read book to inspire him during Advent: Jesus: The Man Who Lives, by Malcolm Muggeridge. It is out of print, so if you’re interested, you’ll have to be satisfied with the used book market.

Sean’s most listened to Christmas album: Bach: Christmas oratorio, BWV 248 | Peter Dijkstra & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin - https://youtu.be/wPx1Uw9bawU?si=zIWeULIlz2yZmmm4 . The first movement is all I need!

 

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