Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Being Presents for Christmas

As part of this year's Advent Conspiracy movement, our high school group is learning how to give presence over presents. While we tend to celebrate Christmas with packages and gift cards and stocking stuffers, God initiated Christmas by giving the greatest gift of all: His Son.

I used to miss the first chapter of John as a Christmas passage (especially compared to Jesus's birth stories in Matthew and Luke). But all that changed once I read it in light of Christmas:
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
    There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
   The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
   The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus gave Himself. He dwelt among us. When received, He gives the right to become children of God. Jesus gave presence, the greatest Presence in all of human history.

So for tonight's high school gathering, we're simply going to be present with one another.

Perhaps, more accurately, we'll be presents for one another. 

We'll give relationally to one another. We'll play board games, make Christmas cards, and eat sugary treats. We'll laugh, cry, hug, smile, listen. I recognize that cookies and board games are a far cry from the presence that Christ gives us in the Incarnation. Jesus gave Himself. We're learning to follow His example and give ourselves, experiencing His presence as we're present with others.

Who do you need to be present with this Christmas season?

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