For Christmas, Jesus, I’d Like Your Presence

“Jesus, I want your presence for Christmas.”

That sentence appeared somewhere last week. I love plays on words. They often drive ideas home. Several books of the Bible are full of these word plays–especially Psalms and Proverbs. Sometimes I think Paul sneaked one or two in his writings.


There are people who, as children, received few presents. Then they went to school and saw what some of the other kids got. Cue jealousy, greed leading to a life of self-absorption, narcissism, and/or greed. Even into late adulthood, they still crave presents.

Even as Christians, as self-professed followers of the guy whose birth we celebrate. They can’t help it. This most likely was not a decision. So many things we get blamed for by the Pharisees who still live amongst us are not really decisions. Just reactions reinforced by family or peer group becoming habits of self-thought.

Others of us learned from those “poor” beginnings that all the gifts really had little meaning. Open the present, check out the (most likely cheap) toy, play for a while, then it’s over.

What remains is experience. All the family gathered. Special church worship. People especially cheerful, wishing peace for everyone.

Me, I seek the presence. As a contemplative, I’ve had experiences. They are deep and meaningful. On the other hand, some of the best experiences of presence have come in service. Sometime just a helping hand. Or picking up a dinner check for some stranger spontaneously. Or working with orphans in international ministries. It can be in the same house or half-way around the world.

We celebrated the 4th Sunday of Advent in a church that celebrates diversity. In just about every way. What a welcoming group of people. The presence was felt.

I only wish that we could spread that presence of the one whose birth we celebrate.

Could I be more witness and less preacher? Seek and share the presence of Jesus.

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