As we are rapidly approaching Christmas, we see the signs of many people preparing for this (supposedly!) joyous occasion. If you take the time to stop and observe, you will see gifts being bought and many rolls of wrapping paper being carried out of the stores. I love this time of the year! I enjoy making Christmas memories with my family, as well as looking for the perfect gifts. However, I see many faces that are filled with looks of frustration and impatience because of a wrong focus. What would happen if we would anticipate the PRESENCE of Jesus rather than focusing on the PRESENTS of Christmas? True joy on our faces is a sign that we have been in the presence of Jesus.
All too often, I find myself with a “Martha” personality. (I am NOT talking about Martha Stewart either! SHE probably wrapped her gifts in Oct!) I’m talking about Martha in the Bible. You see, she was always so busy washing dishes, preparing food, doing laundry, (baking cookies, addressing cards, wrapping gifts), etc. that she was never quite able to find the time to merely sit and enjoy the presence of Jesus. Ouch! This is all too familiar to me!
You may be preparing for guests and family to come to your home for Christmas. Just as you are preparing for them, I invite you to prepare for the presence of Jesus this Christmas. Don’t allow the demands of other things distract you from meeting with the Divine. Be a “Mary” rather than a “Martha” and choose the best things over the good things. After all, the most urgent things are hardly ever the most important things. In the Biblical account of Luke 10, it is clear that Mary was the one who had the most peace in her life.
Today, I encourage you to set aside all the preparations, distractions, and even your obligations, and come and sit in the sweet presence of Jesus. You really don’t have to do anything special to invite His presence, except to be quiet and still before Him. Take a deep breath and get away from all the busyness and allow Jesus to fill your heart with His peace and joy. You may enjoy sipping a cup of coffee or tea as you sit in front of the fire, taking a walk, sitting outside under the stars, or listening to soft music as you come before the presence of Jesus, and let Him speak to you through His Word. It’s not important HOW you do it, it’s just important THAT you do it! This will be your special Christmas present to Jesus!
Why do we tend to multiply our duties as Christians? We don’t have a problem giving God our money, and we even delight in doing great works for Him. However, we struggle to give Him what He desires the most…our hearts! We habitually follow all the right rules, but find out that they only bring us a false sense of security. When your life’s circumstances narrows your perception of Jesus’ sweet presence, you will feel empty and incomplete. If your life begins to feel fragmented, you will probably be able to see that your awareness of God’s presence has begun to flicker and fade. When this happens, look to Jesus as your example. He was constantly aware of His Father’s presence while He was here on earth.
What God desires for His children is an awakened heart that thrills to be in His presence. He will provide indescribable joy if we do our part in coming to Him. Our deepest longings will be fulfilled in His presence.
Won’t you join me in making the commitment today to put Christ back into your Christmas? Do you see your need for God’s help in setting priorities that are pleasing to Him? Do you need His help to remember to enjoy the presence of Jesus more than remembering all the other Christmas details? This Christmas, I am committing to plan for the PRESENCE of Jesus…this is really the only PRESENT I really need.
~Cindy (For the Mullett Family)
“May you sense Him deeply during this holiday season. May your December be filled, not with Christmas presents, but with CHRISTmas presence.” (Max Lucado)
Esther ZeisetPosted at 15:58h, 11 January
I really enjoyed this Christmas message. Some years ago I was forced to give up something and I did more of what you suggest. It has been rewarding. May God bless you as you minister to others, care for your children and meet the wishes of your parents and siblings. God bless your New Year with a special dose of His presence, mercy, and grace is my prayer.
Duane & CindyPosted at 17:06h, 14 January
Thank you for sharing this. You confirmed that God’s ways DO WORK even when it goes against our natural response. Thank you for your words of blessing and for the encouragement and example that you and Alan are to our family.