I've always been a bit of a sucker for silly cliches and plays on words. Here is one with a bit more reverent of a tone that struck me during church today; It's not about the presents, but about HIS presence.
I feel like I've been having a hard time really "feeling" the Christmas spirit. I'm not sure if it is just because I am older now, and the toll of busy schedules and childcare leaves me feeling like the days are just passing in a whirlwind and it is hard to capture what is happening. Or, if there is something else I need to do in order to feel Christmas. I've tried listening to different CD's, I'm reading a Christmas Carol, I've watched Frosty and Rudolph with Ava. We've sent Christmas cards. I've been shopping. I have decorations up and our tree is lit almost 24/7, but yet I'm having a hard time intrinsically "feeling" what I want to feel.
Until I sat in church today.
Then I felt it. For a few minutes anyways and I realized that was the answer. We need to take more time to be in God's presence to really feel the spirit of Christmas.
During our church services they open up the alter for people who want to come and pray. Of the hundreds of people in the services, a few dozen usually find their way to the front to kneel down and pray at the alter. While the more reserved part of me usually prompts me to pray from my pew (I had determined that going to the alter was for people with really BIG prayer requests!) this morning, for no particular reason and with no particular request, I felt that I needed to kneel at the alter and pray. I prayed for nothing specific, just that God would be near and that I would feel him. I did and I'm thankful for it.
Tonight I took Ava to see her Aunt Caitlyn in a Christmas pagent at their small suburban Presbyterian Church and I feel like I felt God again. There was something really beautiful in the evident heart, soul and effort that the people of this smallish congregation and these children put into this play to tell the story about Jesus birth. It was poingnant, funny, and sweet.
So, back to my silly play on words; it hasn't been about the presents, but about his presence that has helped me feel connected to a true Christmas spirit. A real feeling that I've been aching for-- a combination of joy, peace and hope that resounds in my soul and reminds me that we are celebrating a beautifully spiritual holiday.
A few words from my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night: