Who would have thought that sitting around a backyard fire pit in the middle of winter was a thing? At least up until last winter, that is something that would have been a bit beyond my imagination. I always considered my fire pit to be somewhat seasonal, which included fighting off mosquitoes as one of the prerequisites for its use. The realities of the past months mean we have had to resort to creative and imaginative responses to experience the ability to be present with one another. Our backyard firepit became a fantastic option to see friends and be with family, sometimes even a meeting. I grew to appreciate it, so even if restrictions allow us to be inside, I plan to spend time around the fire pit again this winter. There was something about being together, warm drink in hand, bundled up and having a great conversation. It was a means to be present with each other, which is actually what I love about Christmas.
So often, during the Christmas season, we put in a bit more extra effort to make time to be with our family and friends. Spend time together playing games or doing a puzzle (for some people, it includes doing a puzzle; I can’t seem to sit and concentrate that long). There is something special about having a bit more time to be together with each other. Maybe all the more now, coming at a time where we have learned not to take this for granted.
I love the reminders that these relationships bring; the importance of being present with one another reminds me of God’s presence with us. The words in John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” For as many times as I hear the Christmas story and attempt to comprehend its meaning for us, it just continues to amaze me that God doesn’t wait for us to find ways to get to God, rather God seeks us out; heads towards us; runs towards us with love full of grace and truth. I long for us to continue to remind one another and experience together this love of Christ, so full of grace and truth that we would experience this from God and share it as we continue to seek to be together.
I’m praying for you, our church leaders and churches, that this Christmas, we would be reminded once again of God being with us, present, sitting around the fire, sharing in our struggles, listening to our fears, and cheering us on in our hopes and dreams. Praying that God would remind us often of our opportunity to be a part of helping each other and those around us and of also being aware of God’s presence with us.