Christmas Day morning – 5:30 a.m. Can’t sleep. No, I’m not excited about the presents under the tree. The tree is only 2.5 feet high and sits on a table and I have reached the stage in life where I don’t need anything nor do I want anything. So, getting a present under the tree is not what it is all about.
Many people and families get excited about Christmas because their families travel back home so everyone can be together. I understand. That’s really neat. However, my six children all puchased homes within 10 minutes of this home where they grew up. And, I see them regularly – in fact, having coffee or a meal with my girls almost weekly … and with the boys whenever work schedules (their’s and mine) allow. So, Christmas is not a big ‘family reunion’ time for me.
No, it’s not about ‘family’ per say although we do get together with each family unit during this two week span of time and share a meal and the whole gang gets together for an evening. And presents have not been a focus (never were THE focus) for a number of years. But, I do look forward to the season as things slow down and I travel less and so have more time at home – allowing me quality time to take a spiritual inventory and see where I’m at – to take stock of what the Lord has done over the past 12 months in me (not looking at ministry – but at my personal relationship with Him). It also allows me to look at how things are right now and what might be the direction for my relationship with Him in the coming new year. I call it a time of spiritual inventory. King David would have said: “Search me O God and know my heart…” I find it is often me that has lost touch with his own heart due to constant activity and so I am the one who needs to become reacquainted with my own heart. The Christmas / New Year’s break is a good time to do just this if I can avoid too many additional seasonal activites.
One thing I have discovered over the past 12 months (one of many) is that when I am in need of something – and I go to God with this need (personal or ministry related) – I expect Him to give me something (wisdom, financial blessing, healing…) He often responds with His “presence” and not with a “present” (the money I need, the healing I asked for…). And, in His love and grace this always turns out to be exactly what the doctor (Dr. Jesus) ordered.
Oh, I am often disappointed that the specific thing I asked for was not directly given to me by the Lord. I am often perplexed about the way He is or (to me, at least) is not answering my prayer request. But, during these times (usually twice a year – Christmas and a week-long summer break) I quickly come to realize that although I didn’t get what I wanted (present under the tree syndrome) I was seriously blessed by an increase of His presence during these times of waiting for Him to give me the “present” I was asking for. If you are reading this … I hope that made sense.
One of the changes I am planning to make for 2009 and beyond is to stop asking for “things” (presents) when there is a need in my life or ministry. I am going to try and remember simply to ask for more of Him (presence). Surely He is really all I need and if I have Him everything else (all those needs and wants – presents) I may mention in passing as I walk in His presence will then be there if it is His will to answer my prayers in that way. If not, that will be okay as well – for I will still have more of Him and there is really nothing else I want “under the tree” anyways.
Just more of You (and less of me) in 2009 Lord! And, I’m in tears because of His presence in my study right now – early on Christmas Day – so I will simply leave it there.
Merry Christmas friends!