In our family, this is a season of celebrations. It began with Thanksgiving, a beautiful time of family & friends, food and reflecting on all we count as blessings. A few days later, we celebrated one of those blessings, our younger daughter Natalie, as she turned four. In just a few weeks it will be Christmas, followed by Hannah’s birthday, which falls in mid-January. With our girls’ birthdays’ bookending Christmas, it is also a season of gift-giving.
I've been reflecting lately on the verse in Psalms that defines God as an "ever-present help in trouble." Wanting to get to the heart of this text, I turned to the dictionary to help me create this version:
"God is our [protection from danger or distress] and [capacity for endurance]. [At any time, in any way], He is a [gift] to us, always [in view or at hand] in [any state of difficulty]."
Wow! That's not a gift you can pick up at the mall. It's not something you can buy with a gift card from the relative who doesn't know you well enough. It is a gift that God is offering you. The same god who has known you since before you were put together, and who will always know the cry of your heart and what you really yearn for; the same God who gave this world a gift without equal or comparison, His son Jesus.
From the moment we hear the name of Jesus and accept the gift we are being offered, He shows up. It's just that simple. He will be there in any circumstance -- in the joy of celebration or the desolation of loss. At any time, in any way, He is a gift.