Advent & Christmas are all about the presence of God in this world. In advent we recreate the anticipation and longing the world experienced in waiting for God to do something new. It of course culminates in Christmas day, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel - God with us. Christians believe that God loves what he created so much, that his response to a broken, rebellious, and dying world isn't judgement or apathy, but that he responds with his presence.
God chooses to be present - with us.
As a young pastor I remember how terrified I was to do hospital visitation. I was so nervous and I put all of this pressure on myself that I needed to say some magic words that would bring comfort to families and patients. After a few of these visits I was humbled in realizing that there are no magic words. There are no easy answers. Thankfully, I found out that my role in visiting people was not to have answers, but to be present. There is something about just being present with someone that brings comfort. We know people care about us not when they say the right things, but rather, when they are truly present with us.
Presence is important. That is why we are so excited that our family is finally living in the neighborhood of North Buffalo. We have spent months visiting and I (Steve) have commuted daily into the city for work. Lindsey has taken Ava to preschool in North Buffalo since August and has attended multiple school events. We've been longing for the day when we could just be present. And so here we are, celebrating Christmas in our new home. We are so excited to be on the ground. In the neighborhood that we love. That God loves. And we are ready to be available for God's mission, to be personally present in the lives of many people who do not know him yet.
Peace & Joy,
Steve & Lindsey