The Gift of Presence
Imagine, the creator of the cosmos, who chose from among his numberless galaxies, one tiny rock of a planet to enter human life; to become a wailing, wrinkled newborn – wow! In the words of Tim Keller, it is “baffling and beautiful” Sadly,the mystery of the Incarnation, still escapes us. Jesus comes that first Advent, but apart from the angels nudging a few scared shepherds and a handful of distant astrologists, almost everyone else simply misses it. Are we any different? Each year many of us routinely miss the wonder of God’s miraculous birth. At the start of each advent season I have this creeping dread that as God comes near at Christmas (as he always does and always is) somehow I’ll still miss it. Our overstuffed Decembers leave us wanting more, our hyper-consumption leaves us empty. Missing the mystery of Jesus’ birth in many ways means missing God-with-us, God beside us, God become one of us.
At WMBC we believe Christmas can still change the world, because the coming of Christ is good news for all people; not just our friends and families, but everyone! We are convinced that an inescapable consequence of truly entering into the wonder of the Christmas story is to love others in tangible ways. This year WMBC has a goal of becoming better listeners – I can think of no better gift to give. And if that’s true, that means the driving force for our gift giving cannot be money this Christmas! To leave the shallow story of the cultural Christmas season and to enter the beauty of wonder of the Christmas story is to believe that we don’t need a price tag to quantify our love.
What if this Christmas we spent less on material presents and focused on the gift of presence? Learned to give our time, our talents, our love, and ourselves to another instead? And if the coming of Jesus truly is good news for all people, what’s our part? Could we use some of the money we freed up spending less on gifts to bless others? Last year we started something called Christmas for the City – it’s a dream to say yes to a different way of celebrating and show our city that Christmas really can still change the world. We’d love for you to be a part of it. Be intentional and look for ways to give the gift of presence. Invite someone to the Family Christmas Experience. Donate winter clothing at WMBC throughout the month of December. Help the Cheerboard deliver hampers. Church, let’s refuse to be defined by our culture. Instead, led by the Spirit, let’s re-create it in the name of the good and beautiful Jesus Christ.