God With Us: Presence

Today we light the fifth candle of Advent in honor of Jesus Himself. Imagine an Advent wreath encircling a looming, white candle, arising from its central place and marking Christ’s presence at the center of our being–personally and corporately. The flame flickers its glow across the room ready for the joy of this Day.

Yet on a Sunday that also happens to be Christmas Day, it’s easy to push that candle to the side and immerse ourselves in the passing of packages, the ripping of wrapping–the presents. 

Giving a good gift is a blessing, to be sure. I personally LOVE the whole process of selecting stashes of goodies to give my loved ones, wrapping them, placing them under the tree–all the while anticipating their joy as they open them.

Yet what I find myself longing for more than anything today is to plant myself and my family squarely before Jesus–the presence.

So how about we pause for a simple moment to nod toward the nativity and remember whose birth it is we’re celebrating, to settle ourselves into His goodness, His peace, His joy, and His love.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Father God, it’s here! The Day we have anticipated for at least four weeks–the Day we celebrate your Son’s arrival on earth as a baby. Born among animals, laid to sleep in a manger. We look upon the nativity and remember this miraculous birth and the ultimate gift You laid before humanity: your glorious Son given to us–fully human, fully divine. Lord Jesus, we celebrate YOU. We look upon that Christ Candle and remember that You remain at the center of all we are and all we do. Your presence, like the flames of Pentecost, alights within our hearts and minds and spirits. You are Immanuel, God With Us! Around us! In us! We pause to take in the truth that You abide within each of us, and we nestle ourselves into You with our hearts and minds aligned with yours, our very essence abiding in yours. Holy Spirit, thank You for dwelling within us. How incredible to remember that we are vessels of Christ’s majesty–that we carry within us the fruit of your abiding Spirit. So we choose to lay aside our expectations and earthly ideas, all our doing and disappointments–right here, right now. And we pick up Christ’s peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. We choose to offer these as the best gifts we could ever give. Thank You for your blessings. Thank You for all the reminders of Who is at the center of today’s celebrations–the nativity, the candle, the gifts around the tree. We ask with joyful humility, Spirit–throughout our day continue to be our reminder of the present of Christ’s presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.
(inspired by Luke 2:1-20; John 1:14; Ephesians 5:1-2; Acts 2:3; Matthew 1:22-23; 1 John 4:13; “Tabernacle” song by We The Kingdom; John 15:8; Galatians 5:22; John 14:26)

Featured Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash
Need some tunes for the Day? Here’s our “God With Us” playlist.

Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

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