When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she literally brought the presence of Jesus into Elizabeth’s home. When she entered the house, she carried Jesus in her body and His presence made an immediate difference in the people who lived in the house. Luke tells us that at the sound of Mary’s greeting “Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I think that we are still called to bear the presence of Jesus wherever we go. As Christians we say that Jesus lives “in our heart” so we carry Him around with us and bear His presence wherever we go? This is especially important during this season of Advent because like Mary, most of us will gather together with friends and family to celebrate Christmas.
This year is a Pennsylvania Christmas for my family. You see, life has taken both my wife and I far from our childhood homes, and like many of you, we have dutifully alternated spending Christmas with either her parents or mine. (I cannot figure out if an every-other-year 20 hour car ride is better or worse than the annual multi-day, multi-home Christmas Marathon that local families endure.) This year’s pilgrimage carries special importance because it is the first Christmas since the passing of my Dad. It is important for me to be with my family this year. I am both eager and anxious to spend this Christmas with my Mom and my siblings.
In the face of this anxiety, I am comforted by the knowledge that I carry the presence of Jesus with me! I pray that His presence will make a difference in our lives as we celebrate Christmas this year. I pray that I will bear His presence well and that those around me will be blessed because He is near!
That is my prayer for all of us this Advent Season. I pray that as you bear the presence of Jesus people will be blessed and encouraged everywhere you go because through you they have encountered the presence of the Living God.