The Presence Above All Presents!!

Christmas is over!  The presents have been unwrapped.  The mess around the tree, fallout from an explosion of celebration, has been cleaned up.  Maybe we’ve begun routine again, perhaps at a slower pace with another holiday, New Years, yet ahead.


Here’s a question for you:  Did you get what you wanted?  Did you receive that present long anticipated?  Maybe it was a car (don’t I wish!).  Perhaps it was that ring, filled with sentiment and symbolism, from your honey.  Maybe it was time with a person you really care about.  I received an invitation to a Christmas party where the invitation emphasized not to bring gifts.  The host stated she wanted the greatest gift of all:  my presence (go figure).


Yet God has given us the most important gift of all!  The most important present I received this Christmas was not something material.  It was the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Christmas Day’s message in worship was summed up with these words of the Bible.  God’s greatest gift:  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as His children.”


When the time was just right, God sent His Son Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem, to be our Savior.  He was born of a woman, Mary, so that He could keep God’s law perfectly, to earn the right to stand with us in the punishment we deserve.  As the sinless Son, He then died under the law, not for any wrong He had done, but for those doomed to punishment.  The Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes becomes the Savior enveloped with the sins of humanity.  True to His name Jesus, He dies to save and set us free!  In Him we have life and a place in our heavenly Father’s family!


Let me ask another question:  What do Aristotle, Babe Ruth, Gerald Ford, Steve Jobs, Faith Hill, Edgar Allan Poe, Nelson Mandela, Nancy Reagan, Shania Twain, and Simone Biles all have in common?  I’ll bet you’re thinking it’s something to do with writing, politics, sports or country music.  But it’s none of these.  These famous people were all adopted as children.


Because of God’s greatest gift, we have that in common as well.  Some children wait many years to be adopted and some parents wait many years to adopt.  The long anticipated Savior, God’s greatest gift, came in His time, when it was just right.  Even He was adopted by an earthly father, Joseph.  The reality of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection means that in our time, even as we enter the new year 2022, we have God’s presence in the person of His Son.  We have been adopted as God’s own because of Jesus!


This New Year will bring joys as well as challenges.  But whatever the year holds for us, God’s greatest gift, His presence, will make 2022 blessed.  His promise is fulfilled and sure in Jesus:  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).  So that we can together do the work of sharing the gift:  “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching, and surely I am with you always,” Jesus says (Matthew 28:19ff).  Share the presence and live a blessed 2022 in Jesus, God’s greatest gift!  He is the presence above all presents!