When you’re a child Christmas is all about receiving gifts. But of course, the true message of Christmas is not about the presents we give to one another. The true meaning is the gift that God gives to us, his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. We find this gift described in John 1:14.
John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the father, full of grace and truth.” In this simple phrase “dwelt among us” we have mysteries so great that even the angels desperately long to understand. In a nutshell, the greatest gift that God gives us, is Himself.
As John 14:16 – 17 reminds us, God is with us and dwells within us at all times. Then continuing to John 14:23, we are invited to come and make our home within God. We are encouraged to see our home within God, as God makes a home within us.
Coming home reminds us to rest, to lay down our burdens, and to take comfort, which is what Jesus is calling us to do. When we see that God is all around us and within us, we can rest in knowing that we are surrounded by God’s presence and invited to come home to God.
Knowing that we carry the Spirit with us where ever we go means that we also carry the presence of Jesus, into all our interactions, spaces and relationships.
This is true of all the people we meet, as they are all created by God. As we learn to listen to the Spirit better, we also learn to listen to God’s people. They offer us opportunities to gain the wisdom, guidance or encouragement the Spirit wishes to impart to us, as long as we are open to listen. As we carry the presence of Jesus wherever we go, we can also practice his gentle attentiveness and listening. In being present with people, we honour God and experience his grace.
There are a few things we can do to help us practice the presence of God:
Develop a daily habit of remembering you carry Jesus with you into every situation.
Remind yourself that the person in front of you bears the image of, and is precious to, God.
Keep your eyes and ears open for the whispers of God in the various situations you find yourself in. What is God saying or doing? How can you discern God’s heart in the situation?
We began talking about gifts. God’s gift of himself to us is far better than anything waiting for you under the Christmas tree. This Christmas, let’s treasure God’s greatest gift – the gift of himself to us in the person and work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary,
the obedience of Joseph,
the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the determination of the Magi,
and the peace of the Christ child.
Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and for ever. Amen