Seeing & recognizing the true presence of God in our lives
As I get ready for Christmas, what do I see?
Do I see myself setting out boxes of decorations, or recognizing the beauty of a single shining star?
Do I see myself bustling around shopping for the perfect gift, or recognizing the joy in a small child’s delight of a glittery bow?
Do I see myself hurrying to get a list of food prepared, or recognizing the love and blessings of having time to be with my family?
How often do I miss seeing beauty, joy, and love because my eyes are focused on the wants, the fulfillment, or the pleasure of what is just an earthly treasure?
In the Gospel reading on the second Sunday of Advent, (Mk 1: 1-8) John the Baptist proclaimed that he was not the Messiah, but only the one sent before Him. In next week’s gospel we will hear again that we are not recognizing Jesus: “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie” (Jn 1: 19-28).
Just like the people who flocked to see and be baptized by John the Baptist but missed Christ, my eyes often fail to recognize the truly important parts of Christmas: a beautifully lit nativity scene, the sparkling eyes of a child reflecting the lights of a Christmas tree, and the sounds of conversation as our family gathers.
Beauty, Joy, Love, Hope, and Peace.
Do I recognize and thank God for what he has given me: the wealth of health, the awe and wonder in the miracles of nature, the joys of giving without receiving, and most especially the real meaning of Christmas — His son, Jesus, our savior?
Do I graciously give love and praise with kindness, patience, and humility? Or do I expect perfection in others and have a desire to get something in return? Do I recognize my blessings and share my treasures by serving those who don’t, can’t, or won’t give anything back to me?
Heavenly Father: Open my heart and my eyes to see Your goodness and recognize the glory of the gifts given to me by those I meet on this journey. Thank you for the gifts of family and friends who share the joy and peace of Christmas love. May Your Spirit be recognized by those who are lonely or who don’t recognize Your presence in their lives. Amen.
May we see and recognize the true presence of God in our life.
© 2011 Charlotte Upah, Monday Morning Reflection