Monday, November 23, 2009

The One Thing ... Christ's Presence

It seems to get harder every year to find the real meaning of Christmas in today’s society. We are urged to be so ‘politically correct’ that we loose the fact that Christ is the central figure of Christmas. What does the celebration of His birth mean to you? Is it the sacrifice He made for us, or is it the life He gives us that makes Christmas special? Is it the miraculous way He came into this world or the reason He came into this world that brings significance to the season for you?

While lying in bed one night recently, I was telling God how I've been feeling and I began asking Him questions. After I'd asked my last question I realized He was speaking to my heart - you know; in that still small voice that, although it's not audible, it leaves an indelible impression nonetheless. It was as though He was saying to me, "'Loretta, the One Thing is you and Me."

I knew instantly what He meant. As with everything else in the Christian life, it's not about ritual or tradition or even about what Christ did for us. It's about where I stand with him now, today, right this minute. It's about Our relationship. It's about walking with Him daily, turning to Him in every situation, trusting Him with all my cares, my burdens, my concerns. It's about making Him the priority in my life, day by day, moment by moment. It’s about having His presence in my life. Everyday, not just during Advent Season.

And then it occurred to me: my relationship with God is more important than anything. More important than my family. Yes, even my new grandson Collin! I suppose I've always known via head-knowledge that was the way it was supposed to be, but in that brief moment with God, there alone in my room, I realized it in my heart, even to the very core of my being. Once it was lip-service, but at that moment it was so tangible I felt I could reach out and touch it. I felt Christ’s presence. I also realized I'd been so overwhelmed trying to take care of things; my family, home, work, church and other responsibilities that I have neglected my relationship with my Lord. Although it's been a priority to spend time with God and to work on our relationship, it just hadn't seemed possible to fit it into my already overcrowded schedule of late. How could I hope to spend time daily with Him (who I can't see) when I couldn't even seem to take care of those things I can see? But there, in His presence, He spoke the answer to my heart and it seemed as though it was the most logical thing in the world. "Make Me your top priority and all the other priorities will be taken care of."

That night I found my "one thing." And I commit to you now that this holiday season I will hold on to my "one thing." I will hold on to the gift God personally gave me that night - a personal encounter with Him during which He, by virtue of His Holy Spirit, gave me a tangible picture of what Christmas is really supposed to be for me. It's a time to put things in perspective, to get my priorities straight, and to focus my time and energy on drawing closer to God. Nothing is more important. In fact, it's so important that He gave His only Son over to death on a cross so that I would be able to draw close to Him.

I challenge and encourage you in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season to take a quiet moment to ask God what your "one thing" is for this Christmas season. I guarantee you if you ask Him with all your heart, He will answer you – He did me. For He says in His Word, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

May you feel Christ's presence this Advent Season.

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