presents 2

I’m to the age where opening the presents on Christmas morning isn’t near as important to me as the precious people who gather with me, even if only by phone, at the party, around the tree, around the table. The people who make relationship with me, who make my presence their priority, are an incredible gift that makes me feel valued and loved.

There are all kinds of presents. There are presents that meet my needs and others that bring me delight. There are some that are given in gratitude, and some that are given in unconditional love. Charities give me “gifts” of address labels and notepads because they want me to contribute to make a contribution. But the people who really matter, the ones who really love you, give you their presence.

God gave the present of his presence to an undeserving people. God sent his only begotten son to the mess and the struggle of earth because relationship with us right now is his priority. Being with us was more important to God than the perfect praise of heaven or protecting his glory. He had already given us all the riches of earth, but on that first Christmas he gave us his physical presence for the first time since Eden. God loved and value us so much that sent his only begotten son to be present with us because he values and loves us.

May you know the presence of the ones who love you during these holidays. May the presents you receive bring you joy. And may the presence of Immanuel, God with us, fill your heart and your home with strength for your struggles, with joy for your blessings, and with gratitude for his love.