STANDING…at the coffee pot, I ripped open two sugar packets and dumped them into my precious puddle of dark roast. The lady beside me commented, "Aren’t sugar packets convenient? I wish I could carry ‘happiness’ around like that – dump it on the bitter stuff of my life and make it a little sweeter." I smiled and nodded in quiet agreement and walked away. I’m not sure how God resides in her heart, but every bitter moment of my life is seasoned with the presence of God’s Spirit…it’s a gift…

WALKING…across the quad of the seminary, I saw a student and a renowned professor of biblical studies crawling…on hands and knees…in the grass. As I moved closer, I gradually became aware of their quest. The student had lost a contact lens; a revered professor was on his hands and knees assisting her in her search for clearer vision. As I walked away, a familiar hymn rang through my mind. ‘Thou didst leave Thy throne and thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me…’ it’s a gift…

LIVING…through the Christmas season will allow us to encounter God’s presence in many ways and places. God will be with us – Emmanuel – in the contexts of worship and music and symbols and gifts. These will be the obvious places where even an average observer can catch a glimpse of the divine. Many of these events and avenues are listed in the body of this newsletter. The promise of the risen Christ, however, was that he would "….be with us always…" Emmanuel. During this holy season of Advent and Christmas, I encourage you to open your eyes and ears and hands and senses to the presence of God at the coffee pot, on the quad, and everywhere. Emmanuel. God is with us…everywhere…it’s a gift…