During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today is #Presence.
At the heart of Christmas for me is an act of God entering into the world and showing just how much God loves God’s creation. Christmas is about God being part of the world, breaking into it, and confirming (yet again) that God wants to be in relationship with it, and if that means God has to take on human form to make that possible, so be it.
Christmas is also something new. God breaking into the world in this way, is a new creation of sorts. But it also is a continuing of God’s promises and on-going promises.
When I think about these promises, what really comes to mind is presence. When we sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” we are literally asking “O Come God (be) with us.” God is with us. God is present with us. Christmas then is an opportunity to remember that there is no bound to which God will not go to be present with us. That, in itself is the Gospel. Add in the fact that with Christmas also comes the birth of the Messiah, who comes “for us and for our salvation,” and that connection of Christmas and Easter is much clearer. None of these deep and important theological moves would matter though, if God was not or did not care about being present.
Today I’m not wondering about God’s presence. I’m wondering about how we can be most present this time of year- with each other, our friends, our family, our loved ones, those in our faith communities? How do you create intentional space to be with each other, especially during the Christmas holiday?
In thinking about presence, and especially God’s presence with us, I hear the words of the carol, “Your Little Ones, Dear Lord” in my ear:
“Your little ones, dear Lord, are we, and come your lowly bed to see; enlighten every soul and mind, that we the way to you may find.
With songs we hasten you to greet, and kiss the ground before your feet. Oh, blessed hour, oh, sweetest night that gave you birth, our soul’s delight.
Oh, draw us wholly to you, Lord, and to us all your grace accord; true faith and love to us impart, that we may hold you in our heart.
Until at last we too proclaim, with all your saints, your glorious name; in paradise our songs renew, and praise you as the angels do.”
As we are very close to the manger now on our journey through Advent, we pray:
“Oh, draw us wholly to you, Lord, and to us all your grace accord; true faith and love to us impart that we may hold you in our heart.” Amen.