The Gift of Lingering

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How is it that Thanksgiving has already passed, and Christmas is now ahead? How is it that time seems to be moving quicker each day?

Am I the only one who feels this way? Do you perhaps wish that time would slow down but for a moment?

There has been a word that keeps popping up all around me. Perhaps my ears are more attuned to it for it was discovered in prayer. This one word has caused me to ponder the way I spend my days and even how I approach time in God’s Word. One simple word with powerful meaning – linger.

What does it mean to linger? The official definition is to “stay in a place longer than necessary because of a reluctance to leave.”

Reluctance to leave. You know what that is like. It is the bittersweetness of a moment. The times when you are so enjoying a moment that you never want it to end and so you linger. It makes me think of summer nights in the lake, swimming and talking with family—never wanting those days to end. I’m taken back to days when the first dates were brand new and time seemed to slip by all too quickly. I think of those quiet moments when holding my nephews or nieces, rocking back and forth, back and forth, and knowing that they will eventually wake up – but just for the moment I was given the gift to linger.

Lingering can be a choice. In our fast-paced world we often don’t give ourselves enough time to stay and converse, to stay and pour into others or to stay and get poured into. We are too busy thinking about what we are going to say next to truly listen to what our friends or family members are saying.

And do we not do this with God’s Word and prayer?

Lingering is a gift, but do I linger in God’s Word? Do I linger in His presence never wanting to leave? Like Moses on the mountain is 40 days not enough?

The other day, I paused, I lingered in prayer. I put my phone in a different room and opened my Bible. I didn’t turn to my usual reading plan, I didn’t look to the list that needed to be checked off. Instead, I lingered—it was a gift and a blessing to my soul.

Each day, we have the opportunity to linger in the very throne room, the presence of God. We have the ability to converse with Him and dwell in His presence. But are we too distracted to even linger?

The Advent season is now upon us. May we turn our attention to a different Word in the season. It’s a word rid of busyness and instead filled with presence.

One Word – Immanuel. God with us.

God made flesh in the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. He came into the world and lingered among His family, among His disciples, until His hour came and He paid the price for our sin, returning to heaven so that His Holy Spirit might linger with us.

All of it, from beginning of creation, to Christ’s coming, His death and resurrection, and the anointing of the Spirit was made so we could dwell with God. He is Immanuel—so shouldn’t we then linger with Him?

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:23

Today, my prayer is that you would linger on those words and the hope of Christ through Advent. Put down your plans for the moment and dwell in His presence. Contemplate the power of God made flesh, smile at the blessing of Christ coming to save us. And most importantly, linger in His presence. For while here on earth we linger, our hope is set on dwelling with Him for eternity.

It is a gift to linger in His presence and practice the beauty of worshipping Immanuel. Therefore, this Advent, linger. Linger in the Word, linger in hope, linger in His presence, and one day we will linger with Immanuel in heaven, for forever and ever.

Oh, what a Christmas gift it is to linger

 

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