The presence is… YOU
Today, prayerfully read Luke 2:20
When my family gathers for Christmas time, I always look forward to the mealtimes. Yes, of course the food is delicious and that’s a big part of it. But I also look forward to what happens when the meal is winding down.
We tend not to leave the table quickly, but sit and talk for a while, often while a plate of cookies is being passed around. As we talk, we tend to tell stories that everyone has heard before. Nobody seems to mind, though. As many times as we tell them, the stories are as meaningful and intriguing as ever.
They are stories about us. They begin with “Do you remember the time when…” and “How about that one time when…” and “That reminds me of …” They are our stories. The stories of our shared experiences. They shape our family and affirm our identity.
Over time, the stories we tell around the table begin to include our kids in them. There are new stories that enter into the rotation, and our kids are in the stories, both the characters and the story tellers. It is renewal, refreshment, and legacy.
At the same time, some of the old stories begin to be told less and less, and eventually fade away. It is the nature of the family stories that some will be forgotten as time moves inexorably forward.
Sometimes someone will remember one of those “forgotten” stories and share it, bringing smiles of recognition and knowing remarks of “Oh, yeah! I had almost forgotten about that.” The recollection of these stories hints at resurrection, and makes you wonder if your own stories will be retold by your great-grandkids a couple of generations from now.
There is a mystical power in shared experiences. It allows you to connect with others at a level far deeper than most. The birth of Jesus is an unique opportunity to connect with one another in the most powerful of all shared experience, the experience of God’s love.
It is as if, for generation upon generation, followers of Jesus have gathered around the table and asked, “Do you remember what happened when Jesus was born? Wasn’t that amazing? Do you remember how they had to come all the way from Nazareth and Mary was so, so pregnant? Do you remember that smelly old barn? Do you remember those shepherds? Do you remember … ?”
It’s a love story. Divine love born in human being. It is the story of God’s love for the world, and it shapes God’s family and affirms our identity.
Do you remember the time when God love the world so much that it overflowed into the world in the birth of a baby named Jesus?
What are your experiences? The meaning of your relationships? How have you been transformed through the miracle of the incarnation?