More Christmas Presence

More Christmas Presence December 13, 2019

Even though Jesus was not born on December 25th, this is the time of year that many people celebrate the birth of Christ by going into debt to purchase expense gifts that [somehow] demonstrate their love for friends and family.

This is not a post about the evils of commercialism or materialism. Promise.

Instead, I want to take some time to consider the implication of the Incarnation of Christ, which is supposed to be what everyone is celebrating this time of year.

In Philippians 2, we have a beautiful summary of this miracle expressed this way:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue [gladly] acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Notice that this entire passage hinges on the suggestion that each of us should model our relationships with others based on this same “mindset” of Christ – humility, service, and selflessness – and that, in this way, we might bring glory to God the Father.

I’m not sure we really get that part.

Or, maybe I’m the one who needs to be reminded of that.

Either way, it’s good to stop and remember that the Incarnation of Christ was intended to teach us something about how we treat one another….with love, respect, compassion and genuine concern.

Of course, the Incarnation is also about God’s presence with Humankind. Even the Messianic title of “Immanuel” means “God with us!” and affirms that God is not far away from us, but forever, always with us at all times.

This same Messiah also promises “never to leave or forsake us”, so God is with us, and God is for us, and God will never, ever leave us.

This is the sort of “Christmas Presence” we should be sharing with one another and celebrating all year long.

What I love about this promise of God’s Presence with us, is that it cannot be undone.

As the Apostle Paul reminds us, there is nothing in Heaven or on Earth or under the Earth – not angels, nor demons, nor anything else in all of Creation that can ever – ever – separate us from the love of God expressed for us in Christ.

Do you understand what this means? It means that you and I are never, ever, separated from God. God has come to us in the form of Christ. Christ promises never to leave us or forsake us. This connection we have with Christ is expressed in a love so strong and so wide and so deep that it defies human understanding. [See Eph. 3:18]

This same love that binds us to Christ can never be broken; we can never be separated from God’s love; therefore you and I can never know what it’s like to be apart from God’s presence. We will never know anything other than the continual drawing of our souls nearer and nearer to the One who loves us more than life itself and would rather die than be without us.

From this point forward, and stretching onward into Eternity, you and I will only experience more and more of the Presence of God – closer than our own breath, nearer than our own heartbeat – until finally, inevitably, we will see our Beloved face to face.

And then? We will dance and laugh and live forever in the Divine Presence of this God who has been drawing us nearer with every passing moment of time.

This is the sort of Christmas Presence I’m excited about. I don’t need a new flat screen TV. I don’t want a new iPhone. I’m not interested in some shiny box covered in wrapping paper under a plastic tree. You can keep those Christmas Presents.

I want the Presence of Christ. That’s more than enough for me.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.
Keith’s new book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” is available now on Amazon.

Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Send an invitation HERE

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 Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brianna LaPoint

    I will never understand how people ignore centuries of bad history. But there you have it. Also, christmas is the holiday where many lose loved ones to heart attacks. You can have this holiday, because even the bible said Jesus was born at the end of harvest, and i doubt that December 25th is when you want to be gathering food.

  • Newton Finn

    Nice Xmas essay, going straight to the heart of the season and the savior it celebrates. I tried my own hand at this sort of thing a number of years ago–taking a complementary, slightly different slant–and thought you and your readers might enjoy it.

    https://newtonfinn.com/2011/12/15/the-harder-edge-of-christmas/

  • Nixon is Lord

    Church is tedious.