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by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter December 15, 2018

It’s Advent. It’s that time when we wait and prepare for the coming of the Christ child. In our waiting, we turn our attention to worship, celebrations, and preparations. By now we have strung lights, purchased and wrapped gifts, attended a few parties and concerts, and eaten our share of Christmas goodies.

We are edging closer to Christmas, and I wonder where and how have you experienced the presence of Christ in this holy season. Where has Christ shown up for you? You know our radical, unconventional Savior, often shows up in unexpected places.

In quiet spaces, Christ often slips in with a nudge to stop and share a bottle of water or a few dollars with the homeless man standing at the Spring Street exit. With a tug at our hearts, Christ shows up in the innocent faces of children as they process nativity characters and light candles. In moments of silence as we breathe in and out the mantra “come, Lord Jesus,” we feel our hearts beat with his presence.

Christ shows up in grocery stores, hospital rooms, and restaurants. He is felt in a hug or a handshake. He is seen in the flicker of firelight and heard in the melody of a song. Christ shows up and our responses are varied. Sometimes we don’t even notice. We miss him. We aren’t open to knowing or understanding how Christ comes to us. Is it because we are out of practice at recognizing him? Have we forgotten what he looks like and how he feels in our presence?

Our other response might be surprise – like we didn’t expect Christ to show up at all. We offer a prayer not really anticipating an answer. Healing takes place and we act surprised. We feel tears come to our eyes when we hear a carol or children singing, and we wonder where those tears come from. The word of God penetrates our hearts, and we didn’t even know we were really listening.

Christ said, “I am with you always.” Maybe he should have added, “so don’t be surprised when I show up.” Where will Christ show up for you in this season? It is a time of expectation, so expect a visit from the Christ Child. Expect the Messiah to invade your life in some way. Christ will show up if we open our hearts to him. He may come in ragged disguise or in a quiet whisper, but he will show up – expect it – hope for it – anticipate it!