Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:12-14
Pastor Graham preached on Sunday about the idea of “Christmas Presence” versus “Christmas Presents.” Those almost-homophones say all there is about our modern understanding of Christmas, don’t they? While our attention often falls towards the latter, it’s the former that is the true meaning of the season.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, Emmanuel, God With Us.
That idea of God being with us is so profound in the Word of God taking on flesh and walking amongst us. But it’s also profound because the promise of God’s presence is one that stretches all throughout the life-giving pages of the Holy Scripture.
Here God promises Moses that God’s presence will be with him as he leads the Israelites. It’s a reminder that the promise of God’s presence was not a new idea for the world at the first Christmas. God is with us. God always has been with us. And God always will be with us. The promise of God’s presence, fulfilled through the light of the world at Christmas time, is the ultimate sign of something that is eternal.