I wonder if some of you might be one of those people who, as you seek the perfect present for the special people in your life, starts out with no clear idea but a certain kind of confidence that says, “I don’t know exactly what I am looking for but I know that I will know it once I see it.” So you shop around, waiting for your inner radar to display the present, thus ending your search.
The other camp is more fixated on getting﹘getting the present that supersedes all other presents. Unlike the first group that doesn’t know what they want, at least initially, this group knows exactly what they want and all of their excited hopes rest on getting that one present. On the great festive day their delight or disappointment will be determined by whether they did or did not receive the present they were hoping for.
Now allow me to share a belief I have about life. Every human that is alive or that ever has lived fits into one of these two present-fixated groups. Many of us spend our entire life looking for that elusive present. We don’t know what it is but we search on, confident that we will know it when we see it, yet it is often hard to find.
The second group of us think we know what the present that we want is, and we just have to acquire it or life will be one big disappointment. We may even have a vague name for it.
We may call it “happiness” or “love” or some other names like “peace” or “meaning” or even “success.” But like the first group, try as we will, it seems to somehow elude us and so restlessly or hopelessly, we move on through life, becoming frustrated or discouraged.
Might the answer be hidden in plain sight? After all, where did all this talk of presents come from? Is there not a historical event that started it all?
It is called Christmas, and it centers in on a most amazing story. A story about the Almighty Eternal Creator and Sustainer of the universe, intervening in human history. Intervening in human form of the least likely sort, a vulnerable baby, born in a borrowed animal stable in an obscure ancient village called Bethlehem.
But what does that have to do with presents and the restless search we all participate in? Well wasn’t there something in the story about the Magi bringing presents to the child? Yes, but that’s not the answer to the soul-taxing search we humans all find ourselves participants in.
What if the elusive presents that we are searching for are really not something but someone﹘a presence. The presence of none other than the Almighty Eternal Creator and Sustainer of the universe, in a non-intimidating form.
The presence of the Almighty is as gentle as a newborn. The Almighty so desiring closeness and trust from we His created image bearers, that He places Himself vulnerably in our hands. The Almighty revealed in the life, teaching, miracles, and most of all in His sacrificial death on the cross as the safest, most merciful, and trustworthy being in the universe.This is followed by His resurrection from death to prove He really came to rescue us and can rescue us from all that destroys us, even death.
What if every one of us is seeking what only Christ our Creator can give, and our souls will remain restless and disappointed apart from Him and the existence that He alone can bring? What if the greatest present He can give is His presence in us and with us forever?
What if all along the truth was, we were made to live in an existence where His presence and His will and His ways bring the life we have always wanted?
What if it can start now by simply putting our trust in Him and becoming what is only rational for a finite being to become﹘a follower of one’s infinite Creator?
I hope you will never look at a present of any kind ever again without being reminded of the presence without which no present has any significant value.
I put my trust in Christ as a deeply flawed 23-year-old man, and l have now enjoyed His presence in my life for 47 years. I have learned as His follower to live from the inspiration and guidance of His presence as it is revealed in His word the Bible. I trust in His promise that I will enjoy the fullness of His presence for all eternity when His sacrificial love and goodness fills the universe and all those that follow Him, because He has won their trust. I so hope your search for the ever elusive present might end, as you put your trust in Him and become His follower and enjoy His presence evermore!
I would like to offer you another small present, I hope this won’t sound presumptuous.
On December 6 I will be starting a six-week series of Sunday messages on this very subject of “The Presence.” I hope that you might consider checking them out online, or better yet, in person at our church campus.