Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Being Present

If I can just get through the next hour....”
then, it's all downhill from there!

If I can just get through this dinner with my in-laws...
If I can just get through all this service...
Just Get through it!

Is that really how we want to think about our lives?
Just getting through it?

Susan Worthington, our Day School Director, and I had a conversation right before the Day School Christmas program a few weeks ago and it sounded a lot like this... (and I DO have her permission to share this).

I asked Susan how she was and she said something like,
I'll be better once this is over-- IF I CAN JUST GET THROUGH IT”

and yet, at the same time we looked at each other
and at the children all around us...
and realized what a special moment it was...
and I said something about how quickly it will be that
her grandbaby Sophie will be grown up!

When I was little, I can remember saying, “i can't wait until.... “
whatever the next 'big thing' was--
my birthday... I can't wait until my birthday
Or Christmas or summer vacation...

But, when my Dad heard me say that,
he would say, “don't wish away the present”
Don't hope so much for “what is to come”
that we miss the 'here and now”!!

What does it mean to be fully present in the moment?
What does it mean to slow down and be present here and now?

For some it might mean getting down on the floor and playing with your child or grandchild instead of worrying about what is cooking
or perhaps it's learning to play a silly video game
just to play the game together..
or perhaps it's sharing an ear bud, so that you can hear the music that's on the ipod or phone.

For, me, it's been learning to use snap chat so that I can see the pictures
that my niece is sending...

Maybe for you it's listening to the same story that your Great Uncle tells..
the one about the time it snowed when he was 12...
that you've heard a million times already...
but, what if you really listened this time.. and maybe asked a question or two...

when we are fully present in the moment,
perhaps we experience Christ around us..

This week, I received a wonderful email story..
it reminded me of an older tale
about a man who is visited by several persons on Christmas Eve

in this newer version of the Story,
the man named George hasn't celebrated Christmas since his wife's death.
He doesn't put up a tree or back cookies,
but he is alone in the service station he owns on Christmas Eve.

That night, he encounters a homeless man who he feeds.
Next a couple whose car is falling apart show up.
The wife is about to deliver a baby so George gives them his truck
while he proceeds to fix their car.
Next, a police officer is shot and he helps the officer
as well as the young man who shot him.

At the end of the night, George is told,
that even though he doesn't seem to celebrate Christmas,
he had kept the spirit of the season about as good as any man.

In being fully present and available to those around him,
George experienced the spirit of the season
and lived it out..

The spirit of the season--
The spirit of Christmas IS the spirit of Christ..

Being Present in the moment is about experiencing Christ's presence in the world.
The Catholic priest Richard Rohr talks about learning to be present in the moment
as a way of learning to recognize God's presence with us..

on this holy night when we celebrate, God With us-- God's coming to us as one of us,
I'd like to share some of Father Rohr's thoughts with you...

in order for us to fully appreciate God's presence with us,
we have to understand that it's about OUR being present.. not God...

God is ALWAYS present with us...
we just don't always recognize it...
Father Rohr says,
God is present everywhere all the time.
There is not really much point in arguing IF and HOW...
we know that God is always given from God's side,
but we have to learn how to receive” this and recognize it.

Recognizing God's presence in the world is about our being present in the moment...
practicing an awareness of God-with-us

When those first angels at Christ's birth,
They said,
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth, peace among those whom he favors.”

peace on earth
good will to all.

We can know God's peace and presence because of the birth of Jesus.
Peace on earth begins with peace within ourselves
when we are not peaceful, the world cannot be peaceful.

And it is through the Presence of Christ that we know peace.

Tonight we celebrate the sacrament of communion,
It is in this that we recognize and experience Christ's presence with us now.
There may be other places where we are less certain of God's presence..
but here, at this table,
we have the opportunity to meet Jesus..

But, are we coming to this table,
thinking more of “getting through it”
so we can at to dinner at Grandmother's house?

Tonight, you might not be asked to share a meal with a homeless person,
or let a pregnant lady borrow your car..
you might not help a police officer you has been shot.

But, you still have the opportunity to be present in the moment
and experience the Spirit of Christ.

May you come to this table,
present in this moment
and know that God is With Us
the Prince of Peace



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