The Lenhart Family

Friday, December 19, 2008

Power of Presence... God with us!



I know my days of listening to Christmas music are numbered and that makes me sad. I love the emotions of Christmas music and the way it just seems to totally melt my heart and prepare me for what Christmas is really all about. Ashlyn had a Christmas choir concert the other day and it took all the self control I could muster to keep myself from embarrassing her by sobbing like a baby as they sang “Silent Night”. But today I was listening to this song by Joy Williams called “Here With Us” and it got me to thinking about the mystery of God stepping into our life as an infant boy Emmanuel, God with us.

I am the world’s biggest scaredy cat when it comes to a lot things. But over the years, I have noticed by the calming effect of having my husband with me. Somehow his presence makes whatever fear I am facing seem not so intimidating. Like for instance, when I gave birth to our children and had back surgery… as long as Jake was with me, I was fine. If he stepped out of the room or even threatened to as a joke… I would start freaking out and let my fears reign. Even when we went to Haiti, in the middle of the night, when I had to make the scary trek out of the tent and down to the bathhouse with the voodoo drums playing in the background and the darkness of the night… sometimes I would wake Jake up and ask him to go with me. His presence makes me feel safe and somehow protected.

“Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. States of being are not highly valued in a culture which places a high priority on doing. Yet, true presence or "being with" another person carries with it a silent power — to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden or to begin a healing process. In it, there is an intimate connection with another that is hard to come by in our fast paced hurried lives.

I have heard people who experience great loss and grief talk about how a loved ones presence during that time was their lifeline and what made their grief bearable. Somehow having someone you love “just there” with you makes whatever burden or fear you are facing smaller.

I have not hesitated to be in the presence of others for whom I could "do" nothing. In nursing school and in my experiences as a nurse, the power of presence is confirmed at all spectrums of life. When Ashlyn was in the NICU after birth, I noticed that the premature infants who have involved and loving family visiting and caring for them daily made a huge difference in how quickly they got better. Their family’s presence directly impacted their outcomes. And at the end of life, those with family there as they cross over from one life to the next seem to have more peace as they do.

I have heard a lot about the various names of the Lord. There are tons of studies devoted solely to the names of God. . Throughout the Bible, there are over 100 names and titles are given to Jesus. And whether He is called "Bright morning star, Wonderful Counselor, the Alpha and the Omega, or the Lamb of God", each of these names and titles is rich with meaning. They all say something significant about who Jesus is. Yet at this time of year, all I can think about is the name given him in Mathew 1:23, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means, "God with us."

His presence in our society is felt and experienced more intensely at Christmas time. And although every generation claims that that the days they are living in the most dark and scary… I truly feel like these days are indeed among some of the most frightening. Our economy crisis and the amount of global unrest is enough to make all us scaredy cats (like me) want to run and hide. Yet God’s promised presence is the lifeline I will choose to cling to. Whatever dark moments or scary night the next year may hold, God has promised His presence. Deuteronomy 31:6-8 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." The bible is full of similar promises of God’s presence as the prescription for fear and discouragement.

As powerful as my husband’s protective presence is…. My God’s presence is even more reliable and powerful. I am so thankful for His presence not just on Christmas day but everyday!!

“Here With Us” Joy Williams
It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small,
How tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King,
You're here with us
You're here with us

It's still a mystery to me, oh,
How His infant eyes have seen the dawn of time
How His ears have heard an angel's symphony,
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King
Here with us
You're here with us
(Ohh, mmm, here with us)

Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save, to save the souls of man

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King
You're here with us
You're here with us

2 comments:

Preston said...

Thank you tiffany for the kind thoughts and prayers it means alot. You and your family are amazing, I watched a little of your Haiti trip and you guys did a wonderful thing. Your kids are getting so big, they are adorable.

love
allison hoskins

Preston said...

Tiffany thank you for your thoughts and prayers, they mean alot to us. I watched a little of your Haiti trip video you guys are doing a wonderful thing. Your kids are getting so big they are really adorable.

love
allison hoskins