It's not what someone does for us that matters most; it's the very fact that they are with us when we need them that's important.

In moments of struggle and suffering - and in times of celebration and joy - we want another alongside us to share our experience.

The overriding message of Christmas is that God has come to be with us. And God is with you now.

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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I've been sick for seven years. At the beginning, my burning question was “How long before I get well?” I just wanted to know when the illness would end so my life could begin again. Over time, though, it dawned on me that this was my life. Life can't be all harvest and no planting, or all speaking and no silence. Every season has its gifts. Even my long illness has led me to new friends and experiences I would have missed otherwise.

God has something special to give us in every season. If we try to skip ahead to the next thing, we miss out on being present where God is. As this new year begins, whatever season you are in, resolve not to wish away the time but be fully present and ready to receive the gifts that God has for you in this season, right now.

Sarah Councell Turner

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God of all seasons, thank you for this day. Help me be awake to your presence and ready to receive your gifts in every season of life. Amen.

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Now go with the assurance that
God is present in you at your strongest and weakest.
God is present in all creation, including you.
God is present in every moment and in a single word.
God is present, recognized or not.
And God is present in the flesh – like our flesh – to bring us home.

Sarah Councell Turner

Sarah Councell Turner is an artist who lives in New Jersey with her husband, her mom and dad, and her dog. She is also a stepmother, but not a very wicked one.


Jim Morgan

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