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Well, folks! In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is now approaching in warp speed and it will be here before you know it. It won’t be long at all until pieces of paper and slivers of tape are hurled through the air as children (and adults) all over the world rip into packages with eager anticipation full of intensity that has built up inside them for a whole year! Squeals will be heard, tears of joy will flow, and hugs and kisses will commence as loved ones show their gratitude and appreciation for all their many blessings.

Our family will be no different than many of yours on Christmas morning. We, too, will be anxious to see what’s under all of the holiday wrappings and what’s tucked away inside of cozy stockings perfectly snug in their fireside home. We will be wide-eyed with immeasurable amounts of oober excitement as all of the goodies we’ve longed for throughout the year are found safely nestled under the tree. But more than any of these things, our hearts will be warmly filled to capacity with love as we take time, amidst the holiday bustling, to reflect on the real reason we celebrate – Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.

My wish for you this Christmas is that in some special way you have a new revelation of just what Jesus’ birth really means for you. My wish for you this Christmas is that you are able to look beyond the toys and new found treasures in the presents under your tree to the Treasure and ‘presence’ that was given to us over two thousand years ago – a Treasure and presence given for the purpose of giving eternal life to all who find Him. Jesus was not merely born to come and dwell among us. There was a specific purpose to His coming all along. His purpose was your eternity. In the shadow of the manger we see the cross, without which all hope would be gone. Jesus was born with death on His mind. He came to die that you and I might live. My wish for you this Christmas is that you are able to look beyond the exhaustion of holiday shopping, cooking, and festivities to the true rest that comes from being in His presence. My wish for you this Christmas is that you are able to look beyond the temporary happiness that Christmas goodies often bring to the lasting joy that comes from being in His presence. My wish for you this Christmas is that you are able to look beyond the madness and mayhem of the holidays to the settled peace that comes from being in His presence. My wish for you this Christmas is that you are able to look beyond the present to the past and that Holy night which ushered in our salvation by bringing us “presence”.

Being in God’s presence is the key to joy, peace, rest, and fulfillment and is the greatest present of all. It was the gift of His presence that broke time in two and caused the whole world, but for a moment, to realize the fullness of life. His presence was, and IS the real present of Christmas. So, my wish for you this Christmas is lots and lots of PRESENCE. May you find your way to God’s presence and may you learn to dwell there all year through.

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