Every Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world as a baby in a manger. We recall just us how much God loves us (John 3:16), and we think about how God came to us so that we might come to him (1 John 4:10, 19).
He didn’t wait for us to come back to him. He took the initiative.
Thirty-three years later, just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised that he would be with us—and every generation—until the end of time (Matthew 28:20). He wasn’t speaking about his bodily presence, he was speaking about his spiritual presence. He promised that he would be with us: pouring his love on us, celebrating our victories and comforting us in our sorrows, always giving us his grace and guidance, protecting us from the evil one every day.
When I had my own conversion experience in 1971, I saw Jesus and his cross in a whole new light. I experienced his love for me like never before, and my life was changed forever. Today, forty-one years later, that first experience of his presence remains the most significant moment of my life. And the experience of his abiding presence in my heart remains the most important part of my everyday life.
Changed by His Presence. During this season of Advent, I want to urge all of us to come to Jesus. The more we see how much Jesus gave up to come to us, the more we will be moved to come to him and receive his love.
But how specifically to come to Jesus? By making time every day for prayer. Begin by finding a quiet place where you can retreat from the world and all of its distractions. Quiet your heart and ask Jesus to bless you and your family. Ask him to fill you with his presence, his grace, and his love. Believe that he longs for a living, dynamic relationship with you, one that is centered on presence and relationship, not rules and regulations.
When we find God’s presence and his love this way, our faith takes on exciting, new dimensions. We find ourselves putting much more hope in the Lord, and our lives reflect this change. We find ourselves kinder and more patient. We say things that are more loving and uplifting. We are happier and more peaceful.
Even more amazing, people who are filled with God’s presence end up giving that presence away to everyone else. St. Peter was so full of God’s presence that people lined up on the road hoping to be touched by his shadow as he passed by (Acts 5:15). Likewise, St. Paul was so full of God’s presence that people crowded around him, hanging on his every word (20:7-11). Similarly, finding God’s presence will make us ambassadors for Christ and agents of his love.
This special Advent issue was written to help you come into God’s presence. I hope that, in some small way, it helps you find his presence. Along with all of the staff at The Word Among Us, we wish you a blessed and happy Christmas.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher