“Keeping His Presence Among the Presents” will be a series of posts about ways to keep Christ in Christmas.  I’d love to hear your ideas and traditions for keeping His presence among the presents, too!   You can respond at this site with a comment, or reach me by email at ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com  

“Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.”   – 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Too often we become so focused on the things we don’t have, we think we need, or strongly desire to have, that we lose sight of the things we do have!

This past Sunday our pastor reminded us to be thankful even when times are are tough.  These are tough times for many people.  In our church, neighborhood, and schools we’re aware of so many people who have been affected by unemployment.  Daily they face the uncertainties and fears of living with no paycheck, praying each day for a job prospect.  Others were able to hang on and eventually found employment again.  Amazingly, it was the people hardest hit in recent times who were knowingly nodding their heads when our pastor reminded us to be thankful even in the tough times.  Those who seemingly had the the least for which to be thankful, were the ones who seemed to feel the greatest thanks in their hearts.  They’ve come to know what really matters in life.  They’ve grown closer to God through their dependence upon Him, and through their experiences have come to know what true blessings really are.

A  few years ago I drove past a home that had been destroyed by fire during the night  just hours before.  The owners of the home were sitting in the yard and saw me drive by.  I couldn’t just drive by and not stop to offer help, so I turned around and went back to speak with them. 

It was a hot Charlotte morning, only 8:30 a.m., and already the thermometer was pushing 100 degrees.  The owners were waiting for their insurance rep to show up, doing their best to tolerate the heat and humidity.  Neighbors had provided them with chairs and a cooler of drinks, but sweat dripped from each of us as we talked.  The fire started while they were sleeping and spread quickly.  They barely escaped with their lives, having to climb through a window to do so.  I asked if there was anything I could do to help them, provisions I could gather, or calls I could make.  They refused those offeres so I asked if they’d like  me to contact our Pastor for them.  That’s when we discovered we were members of the same church!  In that momemt we were no longers strangers, but church family!  It was wonderful.  We embraced and prayed before I left. 

The very next Sunday they were in church.  They went to the altar to pray, and they were crying.  I knelt beside them prepared to offer them comfort, but to my surprise they were praising and crying tears of joy!  Despite the tragic loss of their home and belongings, they were thankful for what they did have! 

I often get so distracted by the things I want or think we need, that I fail to see God’s presence and blessings in the things He does provide for us!   So before I get carried away in the frenzy of shopping for presents, and before I make a list of presents I’d like to have, I’ll keep His presence among the presents by being thankful for the many wonderful gifts and blessings God has already bestowed upon my family, our church, and me.   In fact, with those things in mind, I don’t need to make a Christmas list.  I already have more than I need.  Thank You, Lord!!