This past Sunday in Sunday School, the teachers treated the students to breakfast and it was an amazing lineup of food. Since the Wednesday night series had been tied in with the Grinch, we showed it while the students ate and hung out together. Then I taught the Sunday School lesson by wrapping up this series.
After the Grinch hears that Christmas did not end he says "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more". We know that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as He came to earth to live among us and rescue us from our sin. In church we talk about this each and every year, but if we are honest we don't always get it. Many times we are so caught up in the busyness and the presents that we do not see Jesus.
I asked the students if they had ever received a present at Christmas that they were disappointed in. Some students were brave enough to share and I shared an embarrassing story about myself. Several years ago my wife bought me a nice pair of Timberland boots. They were very nice, but I'm just not the boot wearing guy. And so in this moment I became that jerk who was unappreciative. I don't really remember what all was said (I've tried to block it out of my memory), but I showed my disappointment. I had become more concerned with the "presents" than the "presence of God" that we celebrate during Christmas. Matthew 1:23 tells us that His name will be Immanuel which means "God with us". We hear this often, but need to let it sink in. Our sin has separated us from God, the sin that began in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Now Jesus, who is God in the flesh, came to earth and lived a perfect life, died on the cross and arose from death in order to make a way for us to have fellowship with God again. At this moment in the manger for the first time in many years, God was now with us on earth. He is here for us to have a relationship with if we will accept Him. But Jesus was not only "God with us" for his 33 years on earth. He is forever with us and echoes this promise in Matthew 28:20 telling us that He is with us forever. What a promise for us to hold on to!
The presence of God is a huge deal. The question to ask is whether or not it is a big deal to you? Are you more concerned with "Presents" or the "Presence of God" this Christmas?