Presence vs Presents

There is a popular worship song written by Amanda Falk that says:
“Your Presence is all I need, It’s all I want, all I seek, Without it, without it there’s no meaning” The song goes onto declare “I will exalt You Lord, no other name be lifted high.”

I can’t help thinking of this song in this  Christmas season. As believers and disciples of Jesus, this truly is a great time of year. It is a time when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Traditionally, it is a time of charity and giving.

It all started with God. For God so loved us, that He GAVE His only son, – Jesus (to us) to redeem us from our fallen nature. (John 3:16) And, let’s face it, if Jesus never did another thing for us, His sacrifice for us was enough! To know that we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus…to know that as we accept Him and confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! (1 John 1:9)

Wow, if we truly understood what all that entailed  for us, we would live a more grateful and thankful life!

So we sing and we say that we need His presence, and that without His presence, life truly has no meaning. However, as we just came off of Black Friday, which in many ways swallows up Thanksgiving, it seems that in 2018, PRESENTS is the most important thing. UGH!

Think about it, when is the last time you saw hundreds of people rise before dawn to seek the “presence of the Lord”?

Have you ever known of a time when that happened nationally? Or even just on a certain day? How many times do we arrive at church on Sunday before dawn to gather with others to pray? Have you ever seen lines outside of a church to get in to seek the presence of the Lord? (I’m not talking lines for a special event, but just to seek Jesus.) Even on the National Day of Prayer – I don’t ever recall a news story stating that “thousands of believers across the nation arose before dawn and flooded the streets and government buildings with prayer groups seeking the presence of God for our families and nation.” Do you?

Yet, how many thousands of people do this very thing seeking “presents” for Christmas.  From Black Friday to the day of, the presents that come with Christmas are generally the focus of the season.

Yes, we have had a few times of prayer in Washington, D.C., and in our capitals across the nation, I am not discounting that. However, in the season where we celebrate the birth of Christ, what if we truly sought HIS PRESENCE more than we seek Christmas presents? Oh if we could only grasp the depth of changes that would come to our families, our cities and our nation if we began to truly seek Him.

You might say, how can that be when we have no way of this happening nationally? We can’t look at it that way. We MUST do our part and as as the changes come to us, to our family, to our church, then it will spill out over the city and the state and then the nation. It has to start with someone…..why not you and me?  It starts with one family and then another, etc.

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The word fullness in the Greek means – to be satiated or satisfied. And the word joy is gladness, happy, laughter, pleasure. Friends, there is not one “present” that we can give for Christmas that can completely satisfy and provide joy. Oh, there can be laughter and pleasure, but nothing from this earth will last forever. And let’s be honest, most gifts get tossed before the next Christmas season. But the gift of life, salvation, the redemption of the cross of Christ for which Jesus was born, these are all ETERNAL. Not only eternal, but they will satiate, satisfy, encourage, redeem, give life, hope and peace!

His PRESENCE! Nothing comes close, nothing is worth more, nothing can compare to the presence of our God.

Maybe you are saying you don’t really know how to get in His presence. I was that way at one time. I had to learn. It’s simple, really. Get alone, pick up His word, and read. Then meditate on that word and begin to worship Him. Begin to declare His attributes – something like – You are worthy, You are holy, thank You Lord for all that You have done for me! As you begin to think on Him and praise Him for His glorious deeds, His PRESENCE will come! He inhabits the praises of His people! Praise is like a doorbell for God and He is always home!

So, here is the challenge for this Christmas season – SEEK HIS PRESENCE! It’s wonderful to give gifts – presents – to those we love. Giving was instituted by our heavenly Father!  But, I want to challenge you, every time you go shopping or look for gifts online, I want to challenge you to set aside some time just to seek the presence of Jesus.  If you will do this,  I am telling you, it will be a Christmas season like you have never known!