Updated: Mar 30, 2020
“ ‘Shout and be glad, O daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.’ ”
At a conference one year, I signed up for a prize drawing. The drawing would be the following day at the conference and you had to be present to win. The next day, my friend and I were browsing some other booths on a break. It was getting time for the next session to begin so we started to head back to our seats. However, there was this big clog of people not moving at all that was very hard to get around or through. “What are these people doing!?” I thought. Frustrated, I made my own path around and through the sea of people and got ahead of my friend. Instead of waiting for him, I headed back to our seats. My friend arrived a short time later with sad news for me. The people were all gathered there for the drawing at this particular booth. My friend figured this out and lingered because he had entered the drawing too. The first name they pulled from the bowl was my name. MY NAME. And where was I?? Long gone, on my way back to my seat, if not already in it by then. I missed out on the prize. He looked for me but said I had blasted through the people and he didn’t even see me anymore. They then took a second drawing and awarded the prize to someone else. “Boy, did you miss it!” he told me.
Life is always busy, I think. There are very few times when we are bored and sitting about wanting for something to do. Even more so at Christmas time. Don’t get so busy that you forget to be present. Be. Present. I’m not talking just about physically being present, but mentally and emotionally check in. Put the phone away. Turn off the devices and computers. Be present. Stop rushing so much that your time is spent preparing for time with others instead of just BEING with others. Also, be present with God. Take a moment every day to pause, give thanks, and be in wonder and awe at who our God is and what He has done for us. Zechariah says, “Be still before the Lord, all mankind”. Be still. Be present.
If anyone is at fault for this, it is definitely me. It is not easy to live this way. Yet at the same time, it is easy. It is a matter of making it a priority and putting it in our schedule each day. Making people important. Making God important. I missed out on a really nice prize that day because I was frustrated, in a hurry, and moving on to the next thing. If I had stopped to pause for a moment, I could have won the prize. Instead, I was left with nothing. Don’t get so busy doing that you forget to be, and miss out.
Help us, Emmanuel. How good it is for us that you are “God With Us”. You are present with us. You stepped down from heaven and invaded our space. You died and rose again and sent the Holy Spirit to guide and dwell within us. Help us to so order our days that we are refreshed and filled with the joy of your presence and goodness.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Amen.
See you at church,