Christmas P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E

A beloved Christmas collect (prayer) in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer makes a very powerful connection between the glory of the first Christmas and our call as disciples so many Christmases later. Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Just over two-thousand years ago, in that little town of Bethlehem, God Himself came to live among His people on earth, not as a mighty king or warrior but as a tiny baby boy. This miracle, a single event known to us as the Incarnation (“in the flesh), changed the course of human history forever and gave us a very real way to understand the depth of God’s love for us. On December 25, 2013 in Augusta, however, we will not find our God lying in a hay-filled trough as the shepherds did that most holy night. His presence among us will not be “in the flesh,” unless …

Christmas_Presence_websiteUnless, as the prayer asks, we are able to see the light of Christ shining in one another; unless the love of God is seen, heard, felt, and known through the love “made flesh” in us. In this way we celebrate what I like to call CHRISTMAS P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E! There’s no denying that generous giving is an important part of our observance of Christmas, and a very tangible way of showing our love for family, friends, and neighbors. CHRISTMAS P-R-E-S-E-N-T-S are a delight to give and receive, and they are a very helpful way to share from our abundance with those in need. But CHRISTMAS P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E is an even greater gift.

When you gather as a family, talk over long distances by phone/Skype, or remember in prayer those whose Christmas will be in heaven, I would encourage you to take a moment to recognize, name, and celebrate the CHRISTMAS P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E you are experiencing. And even when you meet strangers, on street corners, in airports, or in line to buy P-R-E-S-E-N-T-S, be very intentional about sharing the tremendous gift of CHRISTMAS P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E with them. These will be formational lessons for your children, and joyful reminders for the grown-ups as well. And God in Christ will be among us in a very real way!

Speaking of formational lessons for children, I am so proud of EDS students and parents for donating over 1,500 pounds of food to the Columbia County Food Pantry! Eighth grade volunteers braved the rain last week to gather the goods for pick-up. How does your family plan on giving to those in need this season?



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