But this year it's different. I told them that I told God the other day (and I've told Him several times since) that, "I want lots! I wants lots and lots and lots and LOTs of presents! I want so many presents! I want LOTS and LOTS and LOTS!" They laughed. I'm sure, if they could, they'd like lots of presents too!
And yet, it's not the "presents" (as in gifts) kind of a thing that I'm asking for. I've been asking Him for lots and lots and loads of loads of... not "presents"... but "Presence"! Lord, I want Your Presence! I want lots and lots of Presence this year! Simply put, I want Him! I want to feel Him! I want the thrill and knowing and filling and feeling of His Presence! There's nothing that compares! There's nothing like it! It's the ultimate gift! The ultimate "Present"! Him! Him being The Present by being Present!
I reminded them of the verse in Psalm 46:1, that He is "a very Present Help in times of trouble." And I reminded them, too, of Psalm 139:16 that tells us that "every day ordained for us was written in His Book before any one of them came to be." The New Living Translation words it, "Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." I love those verses... I write of them often.
And with the memory, I often ask God, "every one of them, Lord? Every day? This one too?"
I told the girls that. And then I said that December 25, 2011 of this year (if we live til then) was also written in His Book. He knew where they'd be and why. He knew how they'd feel and what they'd do. And He wrote what He had "ordained" for them, whether they choose to do such or not. And in what He'd fashioned to happen and written, I told them that I doubt it was for them to have a pity party for themselves in prison. I doubt He'd want them moping and sad and feeling sorry for themselves. I imagine, instead, that He'd like to give them lots and lots and lots and lots of Presence! I imagine that He'd like to not only give His Presence to them in abundance, but for Him to give His Presence through them to others that also were "troubled" and in need of His gift!
I told them to receive lots of Presence.... because He's living inside them if they are His. And not only to receive His Presence.... but to BE His Presence to every inmate around them. They can have a sweeter Christmas this year than they've ever had before, by focusing on Him and the real reason for the season, instead of obsessed and focusing on self and what we can get. Can you imagine the look on our Father's face while He watches them from the Heavens showing His glory through His Presence this year if they'll let Him?!
Immanuel... "God with us"..... And because of the victory on the cross, now Him IN us! Present! Very Present! Presence! How gifted we are this year!
May we feel His Presence... and be His Presence..... and because of that, may the world shine brighter around us this year!