Anne Billington sent this in and it has some cool Advent takeaways (25 of them, what do you know?).
THE PRESENT OF PRESENCE
By: Joyce Rupp
God sent a present into the world, the gift of loving presence named Jesus. The gospel stories indicate that Jesus gave few material things to people. What he gave most was his personal presence, gifts that were treasures of the heart: belief in self, inner healing, peace of mind, compassion, forgiveness, dignity and justice. The loving presence lives on in us in the central focus of Christmas giving.
Seeing the gift of personal presence means that we see ourselves as a gift holding the goodness of Jesus who is Emmanuel, God-with-us. Like Jesus, we can give from our inner abundance, gifts from the heart. Moments lovingly spent with another through prayer or through personal presence carry more beauty and have more endurance than any material gift. What greater gift could we share than one that reflect the Great Love we have known in the person of Jesus; our care and concern, our hope, our joy, our understanding and forgiveness, our kindness, our patience.
The following are suggestions for “being with” others during Advent; one for each of the 25 days before Christmas. When Christmas comes, may we be more aware of the power of Emmanuel\’s presence within and the ability to warm the lives of others because of this ‘gift of Love’.
Be with someone who needs you.
Be with a person who gives you hope.
Be with those who live in fear.
Be with an older person.
Be with someone who has helped you to grow.
Be with someone who is in pain.
Be with a war-torn country.
Be with yourself.
Be with someone who has written to you.
Be with a child.
Be with a refugee who is fleeing from harm.
Be with the homeless.
Be with an enemy or someone you dislike.
Be with hungry children.
Be with a farmer losing his land.
Be with those who suffer from substance abuse.
Be with a coworker.
Be with those whose hope is faint.
Be with someone who has terminal illness.
Be with someone in your family.
Be with world leaders.
Be with men and women in prison.
Be with someone working for justice.
Be with those who are abused and neglected.
Be with your loved ones.
God of love, you were so generous, sending the presence of your Beloved to dwell among us and tell us who you are. Encourage me during this Advent season o continue in the sharing of this loving presence through my attentiveness, given in prayer and in deeds. You who dwell in me, remind me often to let go of my busyness and my hurriedness so that I can be with others in a loving way. Convince me that \”being\” is as important as \”doing\”. Thank you for your strengthening presence. Thank you for being with me. Amen.