The Gift of Presence

God’s gift of presence at Christmas might not only be in the gift found in the manger. For me, that gift of presence was found today with a cousin of mine who lived to see this Christmas after doctors told him that last year was it for sure – he had a stage 4 cancer. Yet, he sat around the table with us tonight – talking about God’s presence in his life through his illness. My cousin reconnected with his faith in the last few years, and it is moving to hear how cancer has been part of his faith journey this year.

Bittersweet experience though, because two cousins were missing from the table today. They flew to Florida yesterday to be present with another cousin, whose doctors have given her a week to live as a result of cancer.

When nothing we can say or do can fix the situation sometimes the only thing we can offer is our presence and love. All year round God is in our midst, in both life and death. This Christmas I give special thanks for Immanuel – God with us – and for my cousins, one who we expect to move into the next life shortly, and another whose presence today was truly a surprise gift from God.

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