Being Present

Published December 10, 2021 by Bob Seale

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

This morning I awoke earlier than usual and lay in bed attempting to pray. My prayers were frequently invaded by thoughts of the many things I had to do in preparation for Christmas. Reports had to be finished, gifts bought, cards addressed, parties attended.

One hour later, all these things continue to buzz through my head and my prayers were still unfinished. How ridiculous—Christmas standing in the way of prayer!

Suddenly my thoughts went back to Belgium during World War II. Scattered throughout Europe are small shrines, mostly made of rock and concrete, along roadways in the countryside. I was on my way back to division headquarters and only about a mile from the front lines, when I saw a soldier in the distance approaching one of the shrines. I stopped my motorcycle and watched. He knelt in prayer with all the sounds of war around him. Then he arose, picked up his weapon and headed back to the front.

He prayed despite all the distractions of war, yet I was allowing shopping lists and Christmas cards to keep me from prayer. I needed to make some changes. I was telling God how things ought to be arranged; I needed to listen.

I doubt that I am much different from many other people who are so easily distracted by the less important issues of life. Some of our materialistic values are so ridiculous. I heard about a woman who, on seeing a manger scene in a store window, exclaimed, "The church again! Now it's trying to horn in on Christmas!"

This year, as usual, I do not have the time or money to do all the things I would like to do. But there is one thing I can do—let God speak through me to bring happiness to others with a cheery smile and, hopefully, just the right words that will comfort them and brighten their day.

God will use you, too, if you will let Him.