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Selecting the Perfect PresenceSelecting the Perfect Presence
by Rick Brown

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    December. Amazing how some people will go to great lengths to find just the right present for just the right person.

    One year a father wanted to buy his two young boys the main item on their Christmas wish list. At that time the “hot” item was the Dragonzord—one of the characters from that wonderfully scripted, masterfully acted, and beautifully filmed TV show The Power Rangers.

    The Dragonzord could be summoned by the Green Ranger.

    The Dragonzord could ward off the enemies of the Power Rangers.

    The Dragonzord could morph into other shapes.

    It seems the only thing the Dragonzord could not do was be found. The hype was high that year, but the stock was low. And so this young father faced a dilemma — how would he look into the disappointed eyes of his boys that Christmas? It looked to be a dark time for this family.

    But into their darkness a light dawned. The phone rang. An informant told him that Toys-R-Us would be receiving a shipment of Power Ranger paraphernalia — including the Dragonzord — at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. He rose at 5:00 a.m., donned his sweatshirt, jeans and cap, and with coffee in hand drove to the store. On the way, he practiced the smug look he would use when less organized beings than he arrived after him.

    It really bugged me when I got there and three others were in line in front of me at 5:20 a.m.! I tried to ignore their smug looks. The good news is that each of us got our Dragonzord. And our kids got their Christmas wish.

    Those of you who love to find just the right present for the people you love share something in common with God’s nature. He too is a gift-giver. He loves to give gifts to his children.

    He gave Adam his Eve.

    He gave Noah a boat.

    He gave toothless 100-year-old Abraham a tiny tot.

    He gave Moses and all-expense paid vacation in the Wilderness.

    He gave David a kingdom and Solomon wisdom.

    Jonah got a submarine ride.

    The other prophets got a promise. Isaiah shares the promise with these words:

    The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

    You’ve probably had some darkness in your life. Maybe you are living in the land of darkness now.

  • Bills are piling up.

  • Marriage is a bit rocky.

  • You’re worried about your children.

    And you don’t know if you can find the perfect presents for your wish list — something that will bring light to your world.

  • Money might help, but you know there’s something deeper causing your problems.

  • Counseling could help you sort through things, but you know it will take something more powerful than that to heal your relationship.

  • Advice might encourage, but you want your kids to have something that will last longer than a lecture.

    God knows what you need. He saw the darkness in Isaiah’s time and he sees your darkness too. He knows just the right thing to give you.

    Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

    Matthew recreates in writing how this promise was fulfilled:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel...”

    In case any of his readers did not know what the name meant he added:

“—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

    The present that God chose to give you is His presence. His son. When God selected the perfect present for you, he did not have to wait in any long lines. He had no worries about the lasting value of his selection. He was not concerned that it might become outdated. No, he knew this present was perfect. He wrapped it up in an unusual package and gave it to you.

The present that God chose to give you is His presence.
    It was just the present you needed: God’s presence. In this baby named Emmanuel, God is with us. Ponder this thought for a moment. Of all the potential gifts God could give you, he has chosen one. Out of a storehouse more immense than anything the North Pole could offer, he selected one. His presence with us through his son.

    Earlier I encouraged you with this thought: your desire to give gifts to your loved ones is something you share in common with God. Why not add another commonality to the list? Give the same thing God gave. Give the one thing your loved ones need the most: His presence in you. That’s what the Christmas season should be about: God’s grace coming into our lives. Once there, changes take place. Things are different once a gift is given.

    Picture for a moment Christmas morning. Kids nudging sleepy parents out of bed before they’re ready to awake. Coffee and camera in hand, Mom or Dad gives the green light that it’s time to open presents. A child tears into the wrapping and discovers a new toy. His world has changed. Something new has entered it. And he begins to behave differently because of that gift. Maybe he begins to sing into a pretend microphone. Or perhaps she pretends with a new Bratz doll. Or maybe Dad is sitting on the couch with a large window behind him. His wife takes his picture on a Polaroid, hands it to him, and he sees a new Jaguar behind him in the driveway. The family doesn’t see him for three days!

    Whatever it is — whether slight or significant — the gift brings about a change in the recipient’s life. That’s what God’s gift does in you. His presence changes you.

    Your sadness becomes joy.

    Your chaos becomes peace.

    Your sin becomes holiness.

    Your darkness becomes light.

    Aren’t those the things you want most for yourself? Aren’t those the things you want most to give to your loved ones? You can, you know.

    You can when you let Christmas happen all over again. The world celebrates the birth of Christ on a somewhat arbitrary date — December 25. But Christmas can happen anytime and anywhere when Jesus is born anew in a believer’s heart.

    Trust that the gift God gave you is the gift you most need. Let His presence fill your life. When it does you will find that you are able to offer a gift of grace too. You can fill the lives of your loved ones with His presence in you.

    You can bring joy to their world.

    You can offer peace to their turmoil.

    You can exhibit holiness for their confusion.

    You can bring light to their darkness.

    Could you select a more perfect presence?

 
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      © Copyright 2002, Rick Brown, used by permission.

      Title: "Selecting the Perfect Presence"
      Author: Rick Brown
      Publication Date: December 25, 2002


 

 
 
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