EMMANUEL – GOD-WITH-US
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………
Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……
Settle into silence, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in such quietness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence, solitude…to just being here and now without having to accomplish something.
Settle into peacefulness…abide in serenity!
Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well.
Be alert! Stay awake! God is breaking into your history now.
It’s Christmas! It’s Peace! Its’ serenity! Its’ Joy!
God has come to us! Emmanuel, God-with-us is here, now, in this moment!
Let us contemplate “God-with-us”, Emmanuel.
Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us, God’s presence here and now!
Take a moment…Be still…Be present!
Let us contemplate Jesus …the gift of God!
Jesus, the gift of Hope, the gift of Peace, the gift of God!
Jesus, the gift of Love, the gift of life, the gift light, the gift of God!
Jesus, the Gift!
This is the season of gift-giving and gift-receiving!
We celebrate the gift of God in this season, the gift of His son Jesus, who came bringing the light of the world, forgiveness of sins, healing of brokenness and conversion of life through his death and resurrection. This gift is an enduring, everlasting and ever present gift.
The gifts that we give one another wear out. Remember the number of gifts that you received last year or any other year. Remember opening those gifts and the joy that came because someone loved and cared to show their love. You kept opening those gifts. There was always the last gift and no more to open.
The gifts stopped with what you could play with, or wear, or eat or hang on the wall or whatever……the real gift that you could hang on to was the joy of knowing that someone loved and cared to show that love.
The gifts that came beautifully wrapped may or may not be there anymore…..but the love shared lingers. It is up to you now to let this lingering love grow and become more personal intimate and intense.
May all the gifts you give and receive during this season become powerful signs of your love for God and one another!
In just a few days we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God’s gift of love. We proclaim and affirm, once again, that our faith in God, our hope in God’s promises and our love for God and each other are the greatest gifts that we possess.
We welcome and celebrate the gift of God’s unconditional love revealed in the birth of Jesus.
We celebrate and contemplate the gift of God’s Word becoming flesh for us, full of Grace and truth. Pray that you will be full of Grace and truth, that God’s word of love will continue to become flesh in you, that your life will be a blessing and Grace for others.
May God’s Word of love must continue to become flesh in you…..
We celebrate and contemplate the gift God’s Peace, proclaimed in the birth of Jesus. Pray that you may have peace in your hearts, that you may have a word of peace for others, for your spouse, for your children, for your neighbor, that you are men and women of peace….that your presence proclaim peace.
May God’s Peace fill your hearts and may you become a channel of God’s Peace.
We celebrate and contemplate Mary and Joseph bringing us the gift of Jesus. We celebrate the journey of the Magi with gifts, the best from their country. Pray that you will bring out the best from you and learn to bring out the best in each other, that you give your best to all!
May gifting yourself, giving your best become your way of giving and your way of living!
We celebrate and contemplate the deepest, the most profound and the most intimate presence of God in our life, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Pray that you will experience “God-with-us”, the close, intimate, personal presence of God in your life….that you will experience God within you.
May you have the most profound experience of God and may that experience empower you to be free, joyful and optimistic about life and the world.
Many say: “I spent too much on gifts at Christmas that nobody really needs”; “I dread this time of the year because I am forced to spend time and money for people that I really don’t enjoy being with”; “I feel so bad that I can’t give to my children as much as others give” and so on…… You may add your own or other statements that you may have heard…..
May be, it is time, for you and me, to BE A GIFT.
Real “gift-giving” is giving of ourselves – not the things we possess, not the talents we have, not our knowledge and experience, not things tangible – but those intangible, enduring, invisible, immeasurable and eternal aspects of who we are in all the richest, the most profound and the deepest part of our life.
The giftedness that each of us is privileged to enjoy must generate a sense of gratitude in our hearts. This gratitude must necessarily be translated into generous gift-giving – not that we could ever adequately reciprocate for all we have been given – nor does God demand or expect absolute reciprocity. Rather, gifts-received are to be gifts-given and gifts-shared with others.
I have read the story of a schoolteacher who served several students in her small one-room school, including one kindly referred to as “special.” When it came time for the Christmas pageant, this child wanted desperately to play a speaking part. The teacher knew that he couldn’t remember lines well, but she came up with what seemed like a solution. He could be the innkeeper. When Mary and Joseph knocked at the door of the inn, he would open it and twice say, “No room!” She thought he could handle this, but just in case, she had someone ready to prompt him.
The night of the Christmas pageant went well until Mary and Joseph got to the door of the inn. Mary knocked. Our little friend opened the door and with his strongest voice said what was expected of him: “No room!”
Mary responded, “But, sir, it’s cold. Have you no place where we can stay? It’s freezing. I’m going to have a baby, and unless you help us, my baby will be born in the night.”
The boy stood there and said nothing. The prompter nudged and whispered, “No room! Say, ‘No room!” The boy turned to the prompter and blurted out, “I know what I’m supposed to say! But she can have my room!” He couldn’t help himself but be a gift!!!
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…….there are many dwelling places in my father’s house…….. (John 14:1-6). This is one of the most encouraging passages in the Gospels. It is comforting and freeing to know that there is abundance in heaven, that there is room for all in the Father’s house. We are used to overcrowded buses, super markets, streets, hotels and houses. We are used to accommodations being limited. In the heavenly Father’s house there is room for all, there is room for all in the heart of God.
Most of us know the Gospel story of the poor widow putting in two of the smallest coins, available in her country at the time, into collection box of the temple treasury. Jesus remarked that her gift was more than what many rich people had given, since she gave all that she had to live on. I have heard many thoughts on this story which are all inspiring and challenging:
- It is not the size of the gift that matters, but what it costs you.
- There are no gifts that are too small, without value.
- Even our small gifts are important. They do make a difference
Today, we celebrate the gift and the grace present among us and within us in Jesus. Gift received, gift given!
for today and every day, for the miracle of life, for the amazing grace and blessing of your history, for the men and women who gave you spirit and tradition and for today, be specially grateful for the birth of Jesus and the hope that he proclaimed…….
Abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives. When we choose not to focus on what is missing, but on the abundance that is present – love, health, family, friends, work, the wasteland of misery falls away and we experience daily joy.
Let us choose to be grateful and joyful and generous with the abundance that is available to us and not be discontent and looking for more and better. Let us be mindful of those who are less fortunate than we are, rethink our needs, downsize our appetites, share with the hungry and the needy and share from the abundance we have received, food for the body as well as food for the spirit.
The generosity of our God calls us to give as He has given – to generous, personal and often costly giving!
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we contemplate the deepest and the most profound presence of God in our life. We contemplate God-with-us, Emmanuel….the gift of God!
Abide in this thought for some time.
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs