The question of the day was whether we could imagine ourselves, just being with one another, as … having something to do with love.

It’s almost cliché these days to say things like “Christmas … it’s about presence, not presents.”

But what if we take that “presence” idea seriously, recognize that being there with another person – say, the people in the sanctuary this morning, maybe after worship (when we’re all facing the same way), maybe in the “community living center” where we would be facing one another over a table and a cup of coffee, maybe not talking about anything more profound than the kids and the grandkids and what the plans are and how you are holding up and how this is different from years past and sharing a memory or two, can we recognize that as love?

The people at our church are big ones for being “hands on,” for doing things: hosting meals, helping hang drywall, walking for hunger, that kind of thing.

We don’t do a lot of just “hanging out.”

I totally get this. I grew up in a family where, if you weren’t doing something productive, the space was kind of being wasted on you.

I know there are sins worse than being lazy, but it’s hard to think of five.

So I fit right in with these people when I moved here almost 25 years ago, and have felt at home ever since, all the ups and downs of living in a community notwithstanding.

Maybe taking a look at this is part of that preparation we are called upon to do in this season of getting ready for Immanuel – God WITH us – sometimes, just being there, and that enough. The main thing, even.


three lighted candles in the dark