Part of the Series The Twelve Days of Christmas as Twelve Ways to Deepen Your Connection with God.

Photo by   SurriyaMubarka

Photo by SurriyaMubarka

You've come at last to the full mystery of Christmas.  "Divinity became humanity that humanity might become divinity," said St. Anthanasius in the East and St. Augustine in the West.  God in Christ and Christ in us, the full presence of Divinity (Colossians 1.27).  Your heart is now the home of God, and God the home within your heart.  Before this mystery your mind stands dumb; reason cannot think its way across this chasm this mystery presents to your rational mind; reason cannot bring you home.  Only love can. 

Love will carry you into the intimate union you were made for.  When you love, you cannot be anywhere else but present here and how.  Up till now you've lived far, are away--always somewhere else, distant from God and from your true self, not present to the Presence.  But that's changed now.

You've come all this way to Bethlehem only to realie that what you sought in this far away land was not far away at after all.  It was in you, but you were outside yourself.  You were conscious of everything else but absent to the one thing that really matters.  Now you're different--you've entered your inmost self and found the sacred center, the place you can enter wherever you are and whenever you want.  You're more present now to the Presence.  This is the essence of prayer.

So you needn't stay on this mountain.  You can return to writing emails and going to meetings, changing diapers and washing dishes.  Go ahead, paint a wall, argue a case before a jury, teach third graders, walk in the woods.  But as you do, take another approach (the Magi returned home by a different way, Matthew 2.12).  

Be present. 

When you are, everything changes.  When you're present, you're no longer anxiously looking everywhere else for happiness for fulfillment.  You're no longer resisting this moment, even if it's awful; it's awful largely because you want to be somewhere else.  When you're present, no longer haunted by the past or obsessing about the future, it's very hard to be unhappy.  When you're present, you're as near as you can be to God--who's as close as your next breath, near as the beating of your heart.  When you're present, God is present in the world through you, and a new compassion, justice, and love breaks into this world in your happiness, inching us all nearer the wholeness and harmony of God's heaven and earth made one. 

Today and tomorrow, when I get knocked around or confused or sucked too long into the past or future, I'll return to the present--the face before me, the task at my fingertips, the breath filling my lungs.  And in this moment I'll return to the happiness of Christmas: God in Christ and Christ in me.

AuthorChris Neufeld-Erdman
CategoriesBE, DO, PRAY