Abiding in Presence

woman waiting

During Advent, we often talk about hope. And one aspect of hope is our ability to abide in God’s presence while waiting for whatever will come. Jesus called himself the vine and his disciples (including us) the branches; for the branches to live, they must abide in the vine. For our lives to thrive and bear fruit—even while waiting—we need to learn abiding. We need to abide in Presence and allow that presence to soothe our souls and give courage to our dreams.

Can you think of a situation in which you abided, in which you dwelled with another and connected to that other for support and nurture?

  • A child abides in a parent.
  • A friend abides with a friend, through good and bad times.
  • An artist abides in the environment that inspires and nurtures the art.
  • A person who is ill or wounded abides in the care of those helping and healing.
  • People abide together during disasters and trials, as they figure out what to do and work together to help those in distress.
  • A person abides in the silence that allows for reflection and prayer.

In what or whom are you abiding this day? What does it feel like to abide? How do you know you are abiding? Do you trust? Do you have hope? Have you found some form of security?

Is it possible to abide in a promise, such as God’s promise in the Christ Child? In the days to come, dwell with that child in your imagination. Linger near the manger; watch while Mary nurtures the baby or while Joseph carries him in strong, protective arms. Remember a baby you have known and how every adult abided in that little one’s presence—to protect and nurture, but also to believe in that little one’s future.

The child Jesus will grow up to be the Savior Jesus: our teacher, healer, brother, and friend. If you can abide with the child and look forward to who he will become, then can you also abide with the Savior and wait in hope and peaceful confidence for who he will become in your own life?

We wait for the baby to grow up; we try not to rush this, because we know that growing is a tender, important process. So we abide with the baby, the child, the teenager, the young adult, and so on.

We abide with Jesus the Savior, but he also abides with us—through every stage of our becoming. Allow these remaining days of Advent to become a time of abiding, of waiting and wondering, of gathering strength and inspiration for your future.

About Vinita Hampton Wright 136 Articles

Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

9 Comments on Abiding in Presence

  1. Thank you, Vinita. I love your reflection on “abiding”. It evokes in me a certain kind of tenderness, in the warm sheltering of family, friends,community. Above all, a sort of “nestling” in the felt indwelling Presence of God in our midst —whether revealed in the ordinariness of a day or in the seriousness of a diagnosis.

    • Thank you for posting, Isabelita. I’m glad the reflection gave you a sense of tenderness and sheltering. Surely this is what God offers us every day and always. Peace to you in this Advent season.

  2. Of all the articles I’ve read over the past weeks, months & years, your article on Abiding is the index that had touched the debth of my heart and soul the most. Thank you for abiding in the Holy Spirit, which you must do to be able to write such an insiteful article.

    • Pat, I’m so glad this article helped your soul! Thanks for the feedback. Especially for those of us who write regularly as part of our daily work, it’s helpful to know that the words we send out are bearing fruit. I rely on readers to let me know when the words are working–or not. Blessings on you during this Advent season.

  3. Your words: “abide in (God’s) Presence and allow that presence to soothe our souls and give courage to our dreams” spoke to my heart.
    Thank you Vinita! Exactly what I needed to hear at this time. I shall remember to slow down, and abide with my Savior and cherish this season of peace. <3

  4. ‘Abiding’ will become my new word for the new year. While awaiting the birth a grandson, I am also abiding with my son, the new father. Your words have clarified that for me, another aspect of the process of a mother watching her son grow, as well as myself abiding in the Savior, allowing Him “to soothe our souls and give courage to our dreams”. Thank you.

    • Mary, I think that parenthood and grandparenthood are both excellent opportunities to abide! May this year be glorious for your family.

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