by Doug Mitts
…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20 NIV11)
I’ve had a long-standing conversation with the Spirit – one that I was mostly unaware of, but it kept repeating. I heard periodically, “I am with you always.” At first it appeared as a passing whisper – almost unnoticeable – and over time that got me wondering and listening. Now I know that God was simply deepening my relationship with Him by giving me a sense of His constant presence. As a result, I now see the gift of Christmas with a more profound meaning for our life in Christ. God, the Triune God, gives Himself away to us in Jesus! And that gift, for those who receive it, means real, live, interaction with the King of Kings from now through eternity.
God started bringing to my awareness ideas like this many moons ago. Some of them crystallized early and some still need clarity. Yet over that time, and again, through much interaction with the Bible, the Spirit, obedience and practice, I started realizing God really wants to give me Himself. I find that quite amazing. It makes me perceive Him better as love. Maybe it helps me come to grips with why He created the universe in the first place. After all, I assume He, as the One in Three and the Three in One, quite enjoyed His co-equal community.
Yet He created and invited me (and you) into relationship and His community so that I might enjoy Him. I do enjoy Him. No, that is probably an understatement. I long for Him and I hunger to grow in the awareness of His interactions and leadership. Countless issues, decisions, challenges, fears, and tears have all been faced with the support of His presence and counsel. All these interactions have led to heart-warming memories with God, of how He has saved and transformed me in real life scenarios (the good, the bad, and the ugly). I’m quite amazed at Him taking the time to help me recognize it is He who is interacting with me.
Now He washes me with awareness of His presence regularly each day. I just wish I consistently responded. My experience of Him teaches me this: He is the gift of Christmas, for life, for me, for you. Jesus meant His promise to be with us. My daily concrete experience of the promise of His presence motivates me to invite others to know Him. I’m convinced of the profoundly wonderful gift He is for me and would prove to be for others.
The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 holds true. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” What a gift! Merry Christmas!
“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” (Psalm 90:1 NAS95)
- How have you noticed Christ’s real presence with you of recent?
- What happens to your perspective when you consider God as gift to you?