Sunday December 26, 2021
There is something so amazing about being in the presence of God. We know that He is omnipresent, always present in this world. But oh how different it is to be in His presence! Now the meaning of the word “presence” may surprise you. The Hebrew rendering is “panim,” which means, “face.” The Greek word “prosopon” means, “directly in front of.” So being in His presence is likened to being directly in front of His face. What a beautiful place to be!
Now we can become so comfortable in His presence that we can take it for granted. Mary and Joseph were in the presence of the Lord (Jesus) all of His early life. Yet when He failed to return with them from Jerusalem when He was 12, they did not know it for three days into their journey home! We can never let that happen to us. His presence is too awesome and too amazing. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of life)
So, how will we treat His presence this Christmas? Will we be like Mary and Elizabeth praising His presence? Or like Zacharius proclaiming His presence? Perhaps we will respond like Simeon and perceive His presence? Or will we be like Herod and curse and reject the very presence of God? There are far too many “Herods” in this world.
Herod was a nominally Jewish man of Edomite descent (a descendant of Esau). Much of what we know about him is from the Jewish historian, Josephus. Herod began his career as the governor of Galilee. He was best known for raising tribute money for Rome. He then became the imperial ruler over Jerusalem where he crushed many uprisings. He eventually killed his wife, mother-in-law, and two of his sons…quite a guy!
Now when Herod heard that there had been born a Messiah, a King, the scripture says that he was “troubled.” That would be an understatement…he was more than mad…he was seething!
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matt.2:3)
The word troubled means “agitated, stirred.” His agitation turned to deception, lying, and eventually…murder. At this point, Herod was clearly an enemy of God. That is how he received the Christmas presence…wanting to destroy the gift.
Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matt.2:7-8)
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. (Matt.2:16)
We have a choice to make this Christmas. We can either choose to unwrap His Christmas presence and allow Him to find room in our hearts, homes, and families or we can reject this precious Gift and refuse to unwrap His presence. You see, His presence is the gift.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn.1:14)
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Is.7:14)
Will Jesus find room at your inn this Christmas? Will you unwrap the greatest gift of all this year? I hope so…it changed my life and it can change yours.