There’s no time like Christmas.
For me, just the word “Christmas” conjures up feelings of happiness and family and presents and roast potatoes.
You may have heard it said recently, “Christmas is upon us”. That is true. But what if Christmas didn’t have to be something that came and went? Here today and gone tomorrow. What if Christmas could be, and was even meant to be, within us?
I believe that the message of Christmas is about what we get to experience in whatever current season or situation we find ourselves in – success, heartbreak, loss or victory.
Christmas is a season we don’t have to wave goodbye.
The crux of Christmas isn’t the presents we do or don’t receive. The crux of Christmas is that God gifted us with His presence.
If we want it, that Christmas feeling, can extend beyond December and throughout the year.
What does that look like?
The Bible says in Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
God with us!
Jesus came to earth so that He could make a personal relationship with God accessible to us. In essence, so that we could know God with us, in our good times and bad.
For some of my readers, this sounds like a nice idea, but I realise that it can be difficult to understand if you are yet to experience it for yourself.
For those who choose to believe the truth of who Jesus was and what that means for you, our belief moves the Christmas story from fable to fact, from the fictional shelf of our heart to the non-fiction shelf.
Our belief changes the way we see, changes who we are and even what we do.
While Jesus’ presence didn’t change God’s love towards us, it did change how we get to experience God’s love.
What does that mean?
It means that we can experience God’s permanent presence in our lives.
God doesn’t come into your life, only to leave you. His presence is ever-there. It is unchanging, uncapped, and undeniable. It is meant to encourage you, to help you, to guide you, to prompt you, and to enable you.
God is still with you friend, He has not left you alone to fend for yourself. He goes before you, He is behind you, He is in your future. He is present.
You are never alone, you are never on your own.
It is a gift, generous and undeserved, available to each of us.
What difference does it make?
The difference between the presents you may receive this Christmas, earthy and fleeting, and the gift of God’s presence, eternal and tangible, is astounding.
Our presents won’t last, but His presence is permanent.
Our presents won’t change the people we are, but His presence cannot help but change us for the better.
Our presents give us a temporary happiness, but His presence offers lasting joy.
God’s presence meets a deep need and longing within every person.
God loves you friend, and He promises you peace because of that deep love for you.
Know today that God’s presence comes with the promise of peace.
Have you ever prayed for things? I have, and I still do, occasionally. But I will tell you what I want more than things.
I want peace.
I pray for God’s peace in my life, that I might experience it, and that I might become a man of peace. And I pray it for our world.
Nothing, literally no “thing”, can take the place of peace.
We need peace in our lives, and God is willing to give it to us, if we will only ask for it.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” (John 14:27)
An angelic choir sung at the very first Christmas, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
What is my first step?
If you like the sound of a God of peace and love, a God who can be permanently present in your life, the first thing you can do is recognise your need for God and ask Him to come into your life, forgive you of your sins and fill you with His presence.
That’s what I did and it changed my life.
I’ve learned that when I’m walking in God’s peace, being “right” just isn’t as important, arguing isn’t worth it, and loving is far easier.
God wants to take you out of your stress, and out of your anxiety, and give you peace.
Simply put, He wants a relationship with you. He doesn’t want to be remote and distant, he wants to be right with you, right now, every day of your life.
That Christmas feeling is yours for the keeps,
It is the very good news,