• 48°

Christmas, it’s about Christ’s presence

am looking forward to staying close to home for Christmas to enjoy time with my wife, children and grandchildren, so my travel plans for Christmas day this year are pretty simple and hopefully it will be something like this:  I will travel from my bedroom to the living room to my recliner, then from my recliner to the table, and from the table back to the recliner.  My plans for the day also include a short drive to visit the grandchildren, and I do not expect traffic congestion or irate drivers to even be in the picture.

Our travels for the Christmas season over the years have not always been that simple.  We have fought traffic plenty of times as Gale and I, along with our two children, drove long hours to spend Christmas away from home. 

Of all the traveling that we have done, I remember only being stranded in ice one time–of all places, that was in Florida!  We were living in Lakeland, Florida at the time and went to north Georgia to spend a few days with our family there before Christmas.  During our stay, a little coating of ice was deposited by a weather system that passed over the Georgia-Florida line.  We left early in the day of our journey back south to make sure that we got back to Lakeland for Christmas day, but by the time we got to Valdosta that evening the ice had started to refreeze on the interstate.  This created nearly impassable conditions.  We were thankful to find a motel room in a little north Florida town where we stayed until things thawed out the next day and we were able to make it safely home for Christmas.

There is no end to the interesting things associated with traveling over the years with our two little girls—who have now grown up and have little girls of their own, and even their girls are not so little anymore. 

One of the things that come clearly to my mind about our travels is that, as I drove, from time to time I would feel a little hand reach from behind my seat and take hold of the back of my arm.  I suppose Jessica just needed the reassurance that Dad was still there and, as far as she was concerned, was still in control of everything.  The presence of one that we can trust surely brings much comfort.

Jessica’s reaching for reassurance reminds me of a far deeper spiritual truth:  as we move along the journey of life, we have the assurance that God is always near and always watching over us, and we can reach out to Him by faith for strength, guidance and comfort.  During this season of the year we are reminded of His coming to earth in human form to identify with us and to be near us in a most precious and unique way. 

The beauty of the night of Christ’s birth can still be sensed in the words of the angel who announced to the terrified shepherds what had taken place:  “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord”” (Luke 2:10-11, New International Version).

Whether you travel for Christmas or simply stay close to home, rest assured that God is everywhere present.  Christ came to us as Immanuel–God with us–to give us opportunity to know everlasting life.  In all of life’s circumstances we can be confident that He never ceases to be in control.  Reach out and touch Him by faith today and allow the peace of His presence to fill your life. 

Indeed, Christmas is meant to be about His presence and not all the presents that we give.