Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas presence

The bible says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Have you ever heard someone say, "Where is God when I need Him?" Or "where is God in all this?" Have you ever thought that yourself? I have. Sometimes I have wondered where God was. But now a whole new idea is become very real to me. The prophet Isaiah wrote that the "whole earth was full of His glory", all of it! The word for glory in Hebrew means weight or significance. So the planet teams with god's significance. It is loaded with Him.

David the psalmist said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" So, if God is not somewhere else, then where is he?

In Genesis there is a cool story about a guy named Jacob who had a dream where God spoke to Him and reminded him of his destiny and purpose. Jacob said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it."

Aha! There it is. I was not aware of it. Where is God? All over me. All around me. He is "very present".

A better question for me these days is where am I? Many times I'm absent. Unresponsive. In short, a dead head. Have you ever heard someone speak of a powerful spiritual experience and they said, "then God showed up". I don't think so. We are the ones who show up! We are the ones who finally get it. I am learning to be more aware. To be aware of my surroundings so that I can percieve God more fully. He is there in quiet moments with my son. He is there in a good book. He is there on a long jog. He is here right now as I write these words. He is in my fingers! I am in him and he is in me. I love this. Even right now as I confess this I am become more aware of Him. I am experiencing Christmas.

This time of year suicides rates dramatically go up as people "feel" all alone and acutely depressed. I can understand this. I sometimes feel alone, discouraged, and misunderstood. How about you? How do you feel? Alone, discouraged, anxious, or angry. Scripture teaches us that in his presence is fullness of joy and unending pleasure. It seems to me that my job is to wake up, or to open up. Yes. That’s right. Open up. Open my heart, my mind, my soul to reality. The reality that God is everywhere including here right now.

This brings to my point. God is so interested in us knowing his presence that he would take on humanness and become one of us. He would make himself known so differently that most had expected. He would be born in such a humble place, a dirty place, such a forgotten place. But the most amazing part is that in order for me to truly know the joy of his presence he would be born in me. The Human heart can be such a dirty place. It can sink to some pretty low lows. Emmanuel God with us! God’s presence living in me! It is more amazing to me now than ever.

Now I can have Christmas happening in my heart. I can be encouraged by the indwelling presence of God. Now Christmas can happen on my face. People can experience God’s presence through me. To me this is fast becoming the real meaning of Christmas-to be a part of “His ever expanding, peaceful government” to allow others to be in contact with him through me is now what defines my purpose for living. To spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere and in every place.

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shinethThe everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently,The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human heartsThe blessings of His heav'n.
No ear may hear His coming,But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, stillThe dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem!Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angelsThe great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,Our Lord Immanuel.

And now, may you become so aware of this reality. The ultimate reality that God is with us. Here and now! Right here and right now! May you be saturated with Him. May you spread the cheer of His presence to all that you know and love and may Christmas be seen on your face by the world for the rest of your life! Merry Christmas!


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