I have been reminded by the times that while some will know great joy this season, there will be many who will suffer from loneliness, depression and despair. I am also reminded of the importance of presence. It is the one great gift that we all can give.

One of my favorite books on Christian care-giving is by Joe E. Pennel Jr. entitled The Gift of Presence. He writes “That is the ministry of presence – to reflect the presence of Christ who always goes before us.” In other words we reflect the Christ who is already in the room, so that those who are lonely, depressed and in suffering know that God is already present through the Spirit of Christ. Let me write it again, it is the one great gift that we all can give anytime.