Ah the holiday season! Christmas music. Endless shopping. Parties. The joyful anticipation in our children’s eyes. Stressful for most. And for many, sadness. If you are like me, I can experience any or all of this each season.
What often gets overlooked during the holiday season is the fact God made His presence known to mankind in the most personal and intimate way imaginable.
I know that, this time of year especially, can cause different emotional responses to the notion that a Supreme Being left His Holy place to vulnerably enter this world not only in human form, but birthed from a woman’s womb. Not in a clean hospital room. Not even in the comfort of a home. Instead He arranged His arrival in a barn full of animals.
That’s a hard story to accept when you really think about it. Yet I believe every part of it. Most Christians, even nominally ones, believe it to be true.
Still even if we believe that a Holy God became man, we often mishandle His presence. Ironically this happens more during the holiday season than any other time.
Are we mishandling the presence of God?
I answer that question in the context of how those of us who profess a belief in a God who sent His son named Jesus Christ for whom we celebrate Christmas tend to mishandle His presence.
Here are a few ways we mishandle God’s presence:
- We fail to recognize His presence. We get caught up in the secular celebration of Christmas. Even the attendance of religious services serve our family or church traditions more than it serves as a welcoming of His presence into our world.
- We misunderstand why His presence is needed. We either forget or never believed this to begin with. We needed God to make His presence in this world. We are doomed without Him not only entering our world, but without Him pursuing us. Left to our own efforts, we will always end up in destruction. We desperately need a Redeemer.
- We reduce His presence as equal to other things in our life. If the first two ways we mishandle His presence are true, then this is simply a default result. His presence in our lives isn’t a priority, rather it is just another “thing” in our life. We stick it in it’s box and maybe we consider it once or twice, a year. If you doubt this, then think about what you spend most of your time thinking about, and pursuing.
- We manipulate His presence. In no other time of the year is this more evident than during this time of year. We have become comfortable with leveraging, if not His presence, at least His name to accomplish our objectives.
If you feel some conviction, join the club. But I won’t leave you just feeling bad about this…
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Do I invite God’s presence into my life?
- What in my life is overshadowing God’s presence?
- What can I do each day to experience God’s presence?
Those three questions are a great way to begin each day guiding us to a life that treats God’s presence with reverence and anticipation.
As you celebrate this holiday season, join me in elevating Him back to His rightful place in our lives.
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