finding the one thing that could change Christmas

December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday. Maybe I am behind, but I don’t remember ever hearing of Giving Tuesday before. As I opened email after email this morning, I could not help but think how fitting today was. That this first day of December would be dedicated to giving.

I wonder how many of us really enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Not just the food and gifts and excitement (or for most, stress leading up to it), but the true meaning of the holidays. And, just what does December first do to us? Does it cause panic to set in a bit over all the stress of cooking and cleaning and buying and wrapping and on and on the list goes?

 When I think of Giving Tuesday, I love the idea, but I am a little concerned that we have it all in the wrong order.

Our great country goes from Thanksgiving (a time to give thanks) to Black Friday (a time to spend money) with its long lines and short tempers for the sake of the lowest prices on the perfect gifts to Cyber Monday (a time to spend more money on more things) with its discounts and free shipping to today. Giving Tuesday.

Really? After we have bought the turkey and all the fixins’ and stood in line to buy all those perfect gifts and ordered everything we couldn’t find in the stores online with free shipping, how is there anything left to give?

Maybe we have it all wrong again. Maybe Giving Tuesday should really be Giving Friday. BEFORE we use all our time and energy shopping, maybe if we really get the ‘giving thanks’ part down pat, we would be more apt to first choose to give.

How would our hearts be different for the holidays if we planned our giving first? And, yes, I know many who do.

If we really sought the heart of God and the gifts He desires for us to give first, our faith would look much different to the hurting and the broken and the lost, would it not?

Before the brown paper packaging is tied up with string, could we seek His will in our gift giving plans? Could we ask Him how we could play a role in His plan for the Christmas season? Could we seek His will before our own and abandon all anxiety and stress associated with pleasing man as we seek wholeheartedly to please God?

I believe most of us long for the holiday to be different. Most long for this world to be different. And, yes, I really believe it all can be.

The Bible says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” {Jeremiah 29:13} The verses prior are ones we often quote. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” In those days when you pray, I will listen.” {Jeremiah 29:11,12}

Then comes just one of His precious promises. Look for me wholeheartedly and you will find me. Yes, Lord!

I believe it to be so. Do you? Could we all decide this Christmas season as followers of Christ that this should be our only goal? To find Him.

If so, it is ultimately up to us. To seek Him wholeheartedly will be our choice. That choice for each of us will look differently. For me, it means getting up a little before everyone else to spend time in His Word and prayer. It might mean buying less gifts. Or not worrying as much about the packages to be wrapped. Or, the house to be cleaned. Or, whatever it is that stands between your time in His presence.

That really is what Christmas is all about. Presence.

Yes, Giving Tuesday is a beautiful idea and I pray that many lives will be touched and changed by what is given today, but I also hope our giving lasts throughout the holiday  season. And, on into next year. But, I hope we remember that there are more ways to give besides money. 

I pray that our country will become great once again and that we will see goodness once again in this land we call our home. And, we will share that goodness throughout  the world.

And, yes, I pray that hearts will be focused on being present in His presence. That truly is the only path to healing and hope and happiness in this life. He is the way the truth and the life. The only path to the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” {John 14:6}

His gift of presence many years ago changed the world.

We were created to be like Him. To love Him and love others. To be His hands and feet to a broken world.

And, all of that only happens in His presence. And, by being present to those around us.

Presence. The one gift that could change everything and everyone. Not only at Christmas, but always.

Holy Father,

As we enter this season of Advent, we praise your precious name. We thank you for all the beautiful memories of Christmas we hold dear and all that are to come. We are eternally grateful for that beautiful night long ago when the world was changed forever and your Son came to live with us. May we never forget the magnitude of that gift. Help us to focus on what you want for this holiday. May we seek your will in our planning and preparing and prayers. Help us to see this time as you do. Unwrap our hearts so that your love can permeate all of our thoughts and actions today and always. May we honor the precious birth of our Lord and Savior in a way that brings you much glory and in turn, changes the world. And, yes, Lord. May it be so. May we seek you wholeheartedly and find you, the most precious gift of all this Christmas. Usher us into your presence.

In the glorious name of your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

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