During the Christmas season, my children often sit around the Christmas tree with lights flashing and Christmas music jingling throughout the house. When they were little, they gingerly touched gifts or enthusiastically shook them, depending on whether or not I was in the room. Sometimes they even peeled back edges of the wrapping paper, attempting to glimpse the mystery contents. Inevitably, they all seemed most drawn to the largest gifts.
While most of us have outgrown the lure of the huge, carefully wrapped presents under the Christmas tree, if we’re honest we probably have to admit that even as adults we sometimes find ourselves pursuing the largest gifts this world has to offer—and not all these big gifts come wrapped in shiny paper. Applause at church. Power position at work. Big money. First-place team. Larger home. Pinterest-worthy décor. Car with a certain shiny medallion on the hood. Record sales. Yard of the month. Awards, recognition, and the praise of men and women around us. Even as believers, we may find ourselves striving to be a kind of trophy Christian who says and does all the right things as an attempt to verify our worth to the world.
Christmas is a time to stop and reflect on God’s gift of grace to us. None of us deserve it. None of us earn it. God gives it because of who He is—not because of who we are or what we’ve done. Christmas is a simple reminder that it’s all about Him and His goodness. His daily presence. A gift. And we get to enjoy it.
Our feature article this month highlights the gift of “God with us”—His very presence. You can’t get any bigger than that! ICR founder Dr. Henry Morris reminds us of some of the men and women of old who walked and talked with God—Enoch, Abram, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, the parents of Samson, Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and many others (pages 5-7). These people enjoyed the gift of His presence and fellowship.
Dr. Morris also points out that “first-century disciples were…privileged to see God ‘manifested in the flesh’” and believers today enjoy the privilege of God abiding in us through His Spirit. We daily live with the reality of God with us.
What does “God with us” mean? Salvation and eternal life! Changed hearts and lives. Help in daily living. Desires centered on His will. Fulfillment. Contentment with His provision and His presence. Empowerment to do the work He has asked us to do. Kindness and love extended to others. Wisdom to discern His truths in Scripture. Giftedness to serve and enrich the lives of those around us. True fellowship—a constant conversation with the God of the universe.
I hope you take the time to enjoy God’s “big gift” this Christmas—His perfect gift of salvation through His Son Jesus, Immanuel—God with us. Enjoy the gift of His very presence! We at ICR wish you and your families a most blessed Christmas through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
* Jayme Durant is Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.