Have you ever stopped to think about how much of our lives are spent rushing here and there, doing this and that – with minimal and superficial interaction with those around us? Parents spend hours in mini-vans carting kids from one activity to another. This once was a time for animated conversation, but now we have onboard DVD players, smart phones, headphones, and texting that isolate and insulate us from the people we’re with. Family dinners, if observed at all, often take place in the living room with eyes glued to an super-sized HDTV.
Christmastime can bring even more busyness. With groceries and gifts to buy and concerts and parties to attend, we can lose ourselves in the minutia of details and commitments and sail right on by the whole reason for the season.
In Luke 2:10-12, the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Matthew 1:23 tells us, “The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”
The God of all creation came not as a high and mighty, holier-than-thou, aloof, distracted Deity, but as a helpless Babe wrapped in the frailty of human flesh just like you and me. The King of Kings came not to a palace but to a lowly manger. His birth announcement was not given to the power-mongers – religious or otherwise, but to humble shepherds. He came to be the Saviour of all who would open their hearts to Him. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. God is never too busy to talk. He never says, “leave a message.” He is always there, longing to commune with us as friend to friend. He hears our faintest cries and answers us in ways we can understand. He gives us the gift of His Presence.
This Christmas, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all turned off and unplugged a few things that rob us of precious moments spent with God and those He’s entrusted to us? This Christmas, let’s make the effort to give the one gift that can’t be bought – the gift of presence.