Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Presence—Day 1

I have two beautiful grandsons. They are very young; the oldest is three months old today. I am a silly doting Noni—my grandmother name. I participate in full-fledged conversations with these boys and answer for them if necessary. But I have learned something very important. I knew this truth with my daughters, but it seems to have become even more important and necessary with my grandsons because I don’t see them on a daily basis. They respond the most and best to me when they can see my face. When I interact with them I get my face very close to theirs. My face will be all they can see in their line of vision. My face is how they know I am present. Suddenly my face is my presence.

When these grandsons respond to my presence I am absolutely delighted. When they smile in recognition of my face I am beside myself—giddy. I want them to know me. My face and my voice are the best ways for that to be a reality right now.

Christmas is an interesting holiday. We long for it to be a holy season; we yearn for it to be a sacred time. It is often difficult, however, to keep the Reality at its core. In the midst of the commercial and retail chaos we struggle to focus on something other than the long lists, the unreal expectations, the overstretched finances, the unrealistic schedules and the dysfunctional families. Gifts become duties and obligations—stressors that trigger worry and pressure. Often we begin to wonder why we are even celebrating this holiday.

Even the Church can add to this stress. We shouldn’t, but often we do. We put pressure on the Body to experience Christmas as it should be, but there is only one should be.

Christmas should be about the Presence of God.

The word often used in the Old Testament for presence literally translates as the face. To be in God’s presence is to stand before his face.

Just as my grandsons know I am present because of my face, so we know the presence of God because of Jesus’ face. Jesus is Immanuel—God with us. In Jesus we see the face of God.

This Christmas, above all else, yearn to be in the Presence of God. Long to see his face. Ask to be able to recognize it even in the most unexpected of places.

And when you do recognize and respond to his face he will be delighted.

Father, come down to us. Bend to us and put your face in front of ours. May we be like babies and little children in our response to you. May our recognition of your face come quickly and increase daily. May the time we take to respond to you become immediate. And may we become aware of the gifts that will come in the wake of your Presence—and may these gifts change our reality this season. Amen.

Daily Activities: Read Luke 2:1-20
Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas
Clip from the classic

This post is the first of a 25 day Christmas project that my church is sponsoring. This post is published on Christ Church of Winchester's Facebook page. We will be sharing thoughts and daily activities beginning today and ending on Christmas Day. I will post here, but I would love for you to check out our Church's website and Facebook page.

Christ Church of Winchester

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