Winter in general often brings vivid memories of my mother. She really seemed to exude more joy around that time of year than any other. Her birthday was in late December and she delighted it fell so near Christmas. Her favorite bird was the cardinal, and she often marveled when she caught a glimpse of one appearing like a deep red rose petal on freshly fallen snow. As I reminisce however, I do wish I’d done one thing while she was still here…spent more time with her, saturated in her joy. Though my flesh thinks she died too young and I deeply miss her, my heart is full in knowing she is forever basking in God’s presence.
So much of the Christmas season seems wrapped up (if you’ll pardon the pun) in busy-ness. Time spent on baked goods or planning a perfect meal, sending cards, picking just the right gifts, decorating, Christmas pageants and programs, decisions on whom we might visit or spend time with, and the list goes on. Not that those things are bad, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in those traditions and earthly things which turn our focus from the One, who desires something we often fail to give Him, our time. Not just “time” out of commitment or obedience, but time relishing His presence.
In Chapter 3 of Nancy Grisham’s book Thriving, she reminds us, “God wants us to enjoy His presence in the routine rhythms of life, confident that He enjoys us! When we turn our attention to Him, He enables us to live with our minds cleared of the things that distract us from Him. God wants us to enjoy being present with Him in our day-to-day activities, realizing that He is right there with us—enjoying us.” In the same chapter, author Grisham charges, “(o)ur role is to become present in the presence of God.”
The only way to get to know someone intimately is to spend time with them.
James 4:8 reminds us, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you,” or in another translation, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
Here’s a great secret though…the thing about God, He is always there waiting for us. A favorite saying I once heard on a radio broadcast is, “if you’re feeling far from God, remember it isn’t He that has moved.” So as we go about our busy lives, planning and gathering with loved ones this season, my prayer is we take time to seek Him first and be saturated in enjoying His presence.
In Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) Jesus prompts Martha of this important truth: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Revel in the gifts He has given and take time today to enjoy His presence!
What things are you investing your time in?
Invite God into your daily decision making and ask how he wants you to spend the time you have been given.
Write a brief letter to God, expressing your thankfulness for His presence, and your desire to remain close to Him this Christmas season.
If possible, share your letters with your family.