God’s Presence

Written by Steve Ballinger. Posted in Devotions

God’s Presence

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the Inn”
-Luke 2:7-

Can you believe that Christmas is almost upon us once again? It’s just a few days away. Many people get very excited about this day because of the anticipation of receiving presents from family and friends. They can’t wait to open their gifts that will eventually wear out and be tossed out. Their anticipated excitement lasts but a short time, and can only be replaced with something that brings a greater excitement. The reality of Christmas is this: Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about presence—God’s presence, “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

At the time of Christ’s birth, we read that there was no room for Him in the Inn. Here was God, the Creator of the universe becoming a fetus, eventually being born a baby, having to wear diapers and be fed by Mary and Joseph. As He entered the world, He was born outside in the cold of night, while others were sleeping cozily indoors. At the moment of His entrance to this earth, very few people knew what was taking place. No trumpets were being sounded; no praises were being offered. Instead, all was quiet. Immanuel had arrived! God was entering the world as a baby, and nobody was even aware . . . . . .

And where does the Bible tell us He was born? In a stable! It’s been said of His birth that He passed right by the mansions, thrones, and riches of this world, being born on the floor of a stable, a place where the stench of animal dung spewed the night air. He was then laid in a feeding troth that the animals used. Nobody had room for Him or time for Him! People were all too busy with the hustle and bustle of life. They were too wrapped up in themselves, while the Savior of the world was wrapped up in swaddling clothes. Mankind was unwilling to make room for Him at His birth. Yet, 33 years later, mankind was more than willing to make room for Him on a cross, at His death. Times haven’t changed much since then. Today, if one were to search for God in our country, he would be hard pressed in finding Him.

I’m reminded of the story of two women who were viewing a display of Christmas gifts in a department store window. In the center of all the gifts was a Nativity scene with the baby Jesus. One lady remarked to the other, “I suppose those religious fanatics are going to try cramming Christ into Christmas and spoil all our fun.” Many people actually take offense when you attempt to bring Jesus into Christmas. They want nothing to do with Him. Thus we now have holiday trees, instead of Christmas trees. Thus we’re now told to use the politically correct term “Happy Holidays”, instead of “Merry Christmas”. Nonsense!

In our eyes, God should never have been born outside, in a stable. It just isn’t right! Our thinking is, “Wait a minute! He’s God! He should have the best of accommodations.” Though His place of birth was not inside a building, like we think it should have been, we need to remember that God didn’t come to earth to fill a building. He came to earth to fill a heart. Until we invite Christ, the Guest of honor of Christmas into our lives, we will never experience and enjoy Christmas the way God intended. Let His presence fill your heart today, that you might fill His kingdom forever.

“. . . but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”
—Romans 6:23—

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas,

Chaplain Steve

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