Serving the community since 1922

Pastor's Corner: Enjoying the best gift: God with us

For many, Christmas is all about the gifts, and that's not altogether a bad thing. The truth is that there is a spirit of love, generosity and sharing, the very spirit that triggered the first coming of Jesus Christ.

We are about to celebrate the incarnation of Christ, the gift of God's presence among men, the best gift he could give us. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Our God gave His gift in a spirit of grace, a blessing we hadn't earned and didn't deserve. Even more, it was the gift that kept and keeps on giving. He didn't give Jesus just to be a baby in a manger, but to live a perfect life and give His life on the cross, so that we could be blessed for eternity. As it says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

That eternal life is amazing precisely because it is a forever spent in the very presence of God Himself, the source of all joy. Psalms 16:11 affirms, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

While the gifts we give each year at this time are a wonderful way to express our love and appreciation for the special people in our lives, it's easy to overdo and end up stressed and in debt. And sometimes, we spend our Christmas wishing for a particular gift or expression of love from someone else that never materializes.

Maybe this year, we can focus on the Gift we have already received, the one that won't break and cannot be taken from us, the joyous, peace-inducing presence of God Himself. Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me." This special verse was written to believers, those who had already invited Jesus into their lives and it was God's promise to come and fill their lives with his precious presence at any moment they allow it. In moments of crisis, in times of stress, in periods of loneliness, He is there at the door knocking and inviting us to enjoy the Gift of His presence. Let's take Him up on it!


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