Oswald Chambers once wrote: “It is not God’s promises we need, it is [God] Himself.”

At Christmastime we often say, “God’s presence is more important than presents.” But the amount of time and effort we spend on shopping for gifts may indicate otherwise.

In certain parts of the world, people give gifts on December 6. By doing so, they have the rest of the month to focus on Jesus and the wonder of His birth, God’s perfect gift to us.

When we say we want God’s presence more than presents from others, perhaps we’re being truthful. But how many of us can honestly say that we want God’s presence more than His presents?

Often we want gifts from God more than we want God Himself. We want health, wealth, knowledge, a better job, a better place to live. God may indeed want to give us these things, but we can’t have them apart from Him. As David said, “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11). Presents may make us happy for a time; earthly gifts from God may make us happy temporarily, but fullness of joy comes only when we remain in a right relationship with God.

So, what would Christmas be like if we truly celebrated God’s presence?