‘…when I awake, I am still with you.’ Psalm 139.18
This simple phrase sums up the sheer wonder of the Christmas season: the presence of God with us. We often think of his presence as something that we have to pursue or seek, but these words remind us of the wonderful truth that his presence is continually present – it never goes away.
When Jesus was born, he came to earth in physical form and at this time of year in particular we remember and celebrate this amazing event. However, nowadays his presence is with us in a different way; it is within us. This is why we can never run away from it any more than we can physically run away from ourselves.
There are two ways of thinking about this. One is to feel condemned by God’s permanent presence with us, as we struggle to accept that God sees everything we do and notes it all. However, the other approach is to see the potential in his presence: there is nothing we will ever face alone because his presence is always with us.
God’s presence is an active presence. He is not idle within us, but rather he is a light, seeking to transform both us and those with whom we come into contact. His presence brings hope into every situation, encouragement in moments of fear and power where there is powerlessness.
Spend a few moments thinking of a situation in your life that could do with God’s active presence, and then invite him to bring transformation and change.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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