Sunday School: Giving the Gift of Presence

Wednesday 24th December, 2008

For many, Christmas and birthdays focus upon "presents." And yet, without "presence" these special days can be rather lonely. I spent much of today with family. We travelled to my mom's house and celebrated Christmas a day early as we have for years. Both of my sisters and my nieces and nephews were there.

As I prayed the prayer for our Christmas eve meal, I realized the number of painful experiences going on in my extended family. We needed each other. Presence was important. At the same time, all of us have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, including my youngest nephew. That was cause for celebration even as we celebrated Jesus' birth! In fact, not only was our presence important, but His presence was so needed and obvious in that moment.

Sunday School is a gift that can provide opportunity for both. It is an opportunity for us to be with each other. We get to know, love, and trust each other. We are able to come to each other's aid. We encourage each other and cheer one another on. We are invited to homes. We fellowship together. We cry and laugh together. We study God's Word together and challenge one another to live the Christ-life.

Not only are we able to give each other presence, but we realize that much of the world is looking for love and presence. We reach out and touch those around us. We care with our hearts and hands. We hold up the light. Presence is spelled T-I-M-E.  We walk through life's difficult days with unchurched friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors sharing our faith, hope, trust, and love for our Lord and Savior.

And most importantly, Sunday School is a gift that can provide opportunity for His presence. Each lesson should be an opportunity for attenders to encounter God's living presence in His Word and in the midst of those who have gathered. When we meet God in Bible study, our lives are changed--here and hereafter. Our attitudes, values, hopes, thoughts, desires, and actions change. In His presence we realize how awesome He is and how insignificant we are--and yet He loves us! In Sunday School we Total grace!

Change Sunday School this year. Realize that it is more than meeting together and opening a book called the Bible. Pause to recognize His presence and the presence of those in the room and beyond the room. Give the gift of presence this year. Be present with each other and with people in your circles of influence. Take time. Care. Love them to Sunday School. And most importantly, love them to Jesus. Be revolutionary!

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