“Christmas isn’t about presents; it’s about His presence.” -unknown
I had a dream last night. A lady and I were talking, and she asked me, “If God is real, why doesn’t he give me the two hundred dollars I need right now so I can buy Christmas presents?”
As I looked into this lady’s eyes, I began to see a child staring back at me, a child who was never taught the true meaning of Christmas. I saw a child that believed if she was a good girl, a good person, she should be able to have what it is she wants in return. This transactional heart posture is what so many of us get wrong about Christmas. Truthfully, it’s what so many of us get wrong about Christianity. From a very young age, we are taught that if we are good all year long, at the end of the year, we get presents. Those material things, those presents become the driving force behind our goodness. Likewise, people try to be “good” and do good deeds so that God will bless them. This becomes their focus and motivation for doing good. God doesn’t bless those who are just looking for a way into Heaven. God blesses those who do good because it’s who they are.
There was a time, one might call it a “dark time” if they were to compare it to the life I live today. The truth is, it wasn’t a dark time. God was present, and His light guided me every step of the way. He led me to the life I live now. I praised God when I had none of the things I have today. I praised God when all I had was Him.
I didn’t get to where I am by simply doing good deeds or being “a good Christian”. The key was in my heart posture. I didn’t praise God so He would bring me up to where I am today; I praised Him because I loved Him, because I trusted Him. He knew even if He didn’t give me anything more than what I had on those “dark days”, I would’ve continued to praise Him simply because God is God. This is true faith, true love; it is not self- seeking. Did I want a good life, good fruit, good things? Of course! But I never wanted them more than I wanted God.
God takes care of us. He gives us everything we need, though not necessarily everything we want. We wouldn’t need faith if God gave us everything we wanted. When it really comes down to it, faith in God’s plan and provision is what keeps us from seeing God as our own personal genie, our very own Santa Clause! God is not Santa Clause or a magic genie. He doesn’t exist to give us everything we want.
This year, when you and your family are gathering around the Christmas tree and opening presents, I hope you remember that nothing you receive will ever compare to your faith, your relationship with Jesus—this is the gift of Christmas.