11th Day of Christmas

by Matthew B. Harper

And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD is There. (Ezekiel 48:35)

The gift of presence is one of the greatest gifts that we can ever give each other. I think to all the moments when we tried to express our lives and relationships in words, and found them totally inadequate. Sometimes there aren’t words. All we can do is sit and be with each other, to hold each other in our tears and pain, and celebrate together in our love and joy.

But true presence in relationship requires no barriers, no betrayals. It requires that we are open and loving, vulnerable and trusting, and that can be more difficult than it sounds.

In living with and loving my fiancé I found something amazing and wonderful beyond anything I had known, but it was founded upon a deep betrayal. Already guilty of my crimes I lived in a lie that I was innocent for many years. Despite all that we did for each other, despite a love that overwhelmed us, I could never truly be present for her. I was always hiding something, always holding back. There was a hindrance, a burden, upon our love. It was a deep betrayal, and hurt her dearly.

To hear that God is an ever-present God is to know not just that God is with you always, it is also to know that there are no separations and no hindrances to love. There is a total openness to us in God’s love. We have wounded God and turned our backs to God, and there is still a constant and ever-present accepting love. In a deep and accepting love we find the calm assurance not just to be more fully who we are, but also to love back with wild and wonderful abandon.

Be present to those you love, and love them with a joyful and reckless abandon, hold nothing back – for that is how God loves you.

To you, in David’s town, this day is born of David’s line the savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Hymn 94)

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