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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Presents or Presence?

I must have been 10 or 11. And I had one thing on my mind- the Magnavox jambox that was at the top of my Christmas wish list. I had to have it. Not only was it equipped with a double cassette player for dubbing tapes, it had a CD player. And every soon to be middle schooler needed a CD player.

A few days shy of Christmas, my mom traipsed off to the store, leaving me alone with a tree full of presents. Let's just say self-control was not a virtue I possessed as a kid. I frantically began shaking each package that remotely resembled a jambox, listening carefully to ensure I didn't choose the wrong one. After all, time was of the essence, and I didn't want to get busted!

I made my selection and gingerly pulled the tape off one side. I loosened the paper and scanned the brown cardboard box for evidence of its contents. And then I saw the only word I needed to see- Magnavox. I was elated! The jambox would soon be playing in my hot little hands. I re-wrapped the opened box in a flash and placed it perfectly under the Christmas tree.

I must say this story makes me giggle. But when I stop and reflect on a deeper level, it begs me to question whether I'm still anything like that 10 year-old girl. As a child, I'd sit for hours with Christmas sale flyers strewn around me, making my list and checking it twice.

My focus was always on the gifts and never on the Giver.

It saddens me to think how many Christmases I've squandered because of unfulfilled expectations, longing deeply for perfect gifts to make me happy. My husband thinks appliances qualify, and let's just say I'm not the vacuum cleaner type. I've shed many a disappointed tear on Christmas morning because the gifts I got never quite measured up. I admit I'm too often fixated on presents rather than His Presence.

How about you? Do you gravitate toward gifts or the Giver? Are you focused on presents or His presence?

This Christmas, let's rest in the presence of Jesus Christ. Let's rejoice that we've already received the perfect gift from our Heavenly Father. And let's remember it is only Jesus who will ever fulfill our expectations and satisfy our deepest longings. He was and is and will always be our only perfect gift.

As Oswald Chambers says, "Nothing can satisfy the need [in us] but that which created the need. This is the meaning of Redemption- it creates and it satisfies."

Thank you Lord Jesus for creating in us a void that only you can fulfill, and help us never to be satisfied with any present other than your presence.

Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! Acts 17:26-28 The Message


Anonymous said...

I have been enjoying your blogs so much. Great message about the giver verses the gift!

Christine Barnett

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