“My Jesus, thank you for having the same presence today no matter where I am physically, mentally, or spiritually.”
This was a daily prayer of mine during this past semester of college. I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in the small town of Gaming, Austria. During this time, I was able to travel to new countries, learn about new cultures, meet new people, make life-long memories that I’ll tell my kids about one day–all in the spirit of embracing everything that comes with living in a foreign country for four months.
But studying abroad certainly isn’t perfect, and I won’t pretend there weren’t times I googled what a weekend flight home would cost, “just out of curiosity.” There were many tears shed, lots of time and money lost, holidays missed, and innumerable calls home. But through it all, the Lord remained present to me.
He was with me when I trudged into my room after a long travel weekend. He was with me when I stayed up too late to cram for midterms.
He was with me when I thought I was stuck in Prague forever.
He was with me when I wanted more than anything to hug my parents.
He was with me when I cried out a broken prayer.
No matter where I was, the Lord was right there with me,
meeting me where I was at. He continues His faithfulness to me daily, always showing Himself in my joy and in my sadness. He is the same God that placed me in the Camp Chapel and brought my wandering heart back to Him in high school. In a semester full of change and anxiety, God was my constant—my guiding Light.
And now, that Light has come down to us as a tiny baby born in a stable. He became one of us to show us His love and remind us of how present He is. In our celebration of Jesus’ birth, I am reminded of how yet again, He is reaching out to us—only this time as an infant from His cradle. Every day, He is reaching out, offering His hand out in nothing but merciful love for you, His beloved one. Every time you approach the Eucharist, you approach this same God of the ages. All that the Lord asks of us is to accept this offer and allow ourselves to be loved by Him.
My dear Camp Friends, I invite you during this Christmas season to allow the Lord to love you as He desires to and rejoice in Him as Emmanuel, for He is forever with us!