By Christopher L. Schilling
As a child, visiting my grandparents on Christmas Day was special to me. My grandfather never had many memories of celebrating Christmas as a boy because he grew up in various foster homes. But, as an adult, he always found ways to make the season joyful for his grandchildren: from the lights decorating his small home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Penn., to the toys he and my grandmother bought for each of their grandchildren, even to his somewhat tacky-looking Christmas tree, always over-covered in tinsel. Christmas was not only special to us, his grandchildren, Christmas was special to him.
While the Christmas season is a time to be joyful, it also can be a time of sorrow from the loss of loved ones to the struggles and changes in our personal lives. Seeking the gift of Christmas—or trying to re-capture the gift we once had for this season—can be difficult, if not at times impossible.
Yet, Psalm 25 reminds us that we are given reassurance of God's presence, even in the midst of our quest to find or recapture the gift of this season. This reassurance reminds us that in the midst of our own trying to find the gift of Christmas, through faith, this gift just may find us.
Perhaps the gift this season will come from a hug from a loved one. Or it could be in a reconnection we make with an old friend. Maybe it will be sharing a meal and much-needed laughter with a stranger. Or maybe it will be through retelling our favorite Christmas story to children.
Whatever it may be—in the midst of our great quest to recapture the gift of Christmas—God is about to give us what we so desperately are seeking: presence. This Christmas, presence is a hope that says there is a God who hasn't forgotten us. This is a Christmas presence of acceptance, hope and joy from a God who loves us so much. In fact, this is a Christmas presence that is just as great to give as it is to receive!
Christopher L. Schilling is a San Francisco Theological Seminary master of divinity student.
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