May Your Greatest Present this Christmas Be His Presence

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Ahhhh……the Christmas season. There is something about Christmas that just warms my heart. The lights and decorations, the Christmas carols, the spirit of giving and kindness that seems to heighten during this season are just some of the reasons why I love this time of year. But then there is the stress of the busier than normal schedules, the extra strain on finances, remembering to get all the gifts and recall where in the world I hid them. If I am not careful, I also start to let my mind wonder why my holiday doesn’t seem as grand with all the festive decorations and extra sparkle like others. I begin to ponder on why can’t my house look as beautifully decorated as those posted on my social media feed. Let’s not forget all the family pictures in matching pajamas either. I mean why is my family so unwilling to do the matching holiday pajamas so we can snap that perfect moment on Christmas morning? In all honesty, I didn’t ask my family to do that, but I bet there are some of you out there that did and received a reluctant “No” answer. The only matching outfits my family has ever agreed to wear in pictures was Realtree Camouflage. True story! If we are careless on where our eyes and mind wander, we will spend too much time focusing on the wrong “who”, and we will find our Christmas cheer has been replaced with envy and discontentment. Those are real Christmas crushers. There are many blessings during this season, but there will also be an abundance of distractions that will cause us to lose that holiday joy quickly if we are not careful.

Our focus should be on the one reason we celebrate Christmas and that is Jesus’s birth. He could have been born anywhere, but chose a manger. That speaks volumes to me. He chose a simple, lowly place to be brought into this world, when he could have chosen the fanciest palace back then. His earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, were just common folk. No deep pockets, or well known last names. Some of the first told about his birth by the angels were those tending sheep. Not a job people were lined up to get. They weren’t looked upon highly. They spent most of their time in fields, dirty and unclean, watching their flocks as shepherds do. The way Jesus came helps us to realize that social status isn’t important to him. He doesn’t care what you wear, how big your bank account is, or what your last name is. He looks at the heart of each individual. He came not for a certain group of people, but for ALL. No one was left out. If Jesus would have chosen not to come, we would have no reason to celebrate this season. We would have no hope, no joy, no peace, and no chance of a home in heaven. There would be no Christmas. Thank goodness He did choose to come!

There is no gift that can be found under the Christmas tree that compares to that of what Jesus offers you when you believe in him. Salvation is the best gift you will ever receive. It doesn’t ever expire, it is everlasting. The joy and peace that come from being a child of God are incomparable to any thing this world has to offer. They are much needed in this troubled world we live in today. Despite the bad news across the globe that seems to be rampant, because of God’s gift, one can confidently say, “It is well with my soul”. When you believe in God and what His word says, repent of your sins, and ask him to forgive you and come into your heart, some gifts you will receive are eternal life spent in Heaven, redemption, hope, joy, love, forgiveness, and freedom. This is just to name a few, and it is a list that will continue to increase as your relationship grows in Christ. Now just like a gift under the tree, you must use it, give it attention, and take care of it, if you want to get the most out of it. Your relationship with God needs to be nurtured and tended to. You must be intentional and give him the time He deserves. He is worthy and I have learned again and again, that He is faithful even when we are not.

As much as I love Christmas, I am aware that it has been another hard year on many. You may find your heart filled with sadness and grief this season. Maybe there will be one loved one or more missing from your gathering this year. Even though the joy and excitement seem to be lacking, I pray you find comfort in Jesus this Christmas. I pray that despite the pain and heartache, He will allow moments of joy to fill your heart. Perhaps, it is through a memory, or being surrounding by loved ones, or just focusing on His love for you this season. The depths of his love cannot be measured, but it can be felt if we take the time to acknowledge Him for who he is. Wonderful. Counselor. The Mighty God. The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace. If you have not been affected by a loss this year, I pray you enjoy the blessings and people you are surrounded by and not take them for granted. One reality that has been magnified the past 2 years is life is short and can change in a moment. May we each be like the innkeeper and make room for Jesus this Christmas. May we open our hearts and minds, and let His presence fill us up this holiday season. I pray you have a very Merry Christmas!

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

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