Present Presence

by Clark Young on December 08, 2022

Recently we attended my 4-year-old grandson’s birthday party. Family gathered to commemorate another successful year of life. Quite a bit has changed within those four years and his personality has blossomed into what it is today. First, we ate lunch with some of his favorite foods; then the cake and ice cream followed; but for our grandson the time was right to open presents. I must admit he has improved his unwrapping skills. I even think he understands the concept of recognizing kindness. It’s a bias opinion, but many of his actions are sweet and thoughtful of others. He’s a really good kid. 

Although he knew that the birthday presents coming into the house were his, he had no idea what was in each present. The quick smile after unwrapping the gift showed his appreciation for what others had given him. As most 4-year-olds do at a birthday party, he was ready to play with almost everything at one time. I’m at the age where I live vicariously through my grandkids. The diversity among each one of them gives me great hope for their ongoing future endeavors. I try to remember childhood birthday parties, and the common theme between mine and theirs is parents make birthdays special. From party theme to invitees to flavor of the cake, it’s a perfect time to plan the party from the eyes of a child. 

Christmas presents have the same positive characteristics. Gifts are purchased, wrapped and unwrapped. In a relatively short time, presents are discovered and gift wrap is gathered. Even when the meaning of Christmas strays a bit, the premise of gift-giving doesn’t have to be thrown away. It is up to families (immediate and extended) to emphasize how God and the birth of Christ is part of the Christmas story. This aspect of the presents should be a reminder all year long. 

The rich diversity of the Bible gives the reader multiple interpretations of the text. For example, presents come in the form of nouns and verbs.  Numbers 15:14 identifies the process of giving (verb) - 14 For the generations to come, whenever a foreigner or anyone else living among you presents a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the Lord, they must do exactly as you do. In contrast, physical presents (noun) can be found in Esther 9:19 19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other. 

I find it hard to talk about presents without the concept of presence. A birthday party is incomplete without the presence of those who were invited. Similarly, the Bible is rich with presence, and more specifically God’s presence as a true builder of faith. Hebrews 9:24 speaks of Christ entry into heaven 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. And the relationship between kings and God is outlined in (Psalm 61:6-8) 6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. 7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. 8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day. 

As adults and what we hope for our children and grandchildren are to seek characteristics of faith that defines a person’s integrity. In the life we live here on earth shall inherit the gifts we receive from above. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. There may not be any pretty bows, but these gifts are still true today. Which fruit are you working on today?

Previous Page