During the middle of the 20th century in England, George and his family would faithfully visit his grandparents by taking the train. One day, while still a young lad, George said to his parents, “I am very grown up now. May I go to my grandparents alone on the train?” After a brief discussion, his parents accepted. They made trial runs and then stood with George as they waited for the train to leave for his solo journey. Saying goodbye, George’s Father handed him an envelope saying, “George put this in your pocket. If you start to feel uncomfortable or even a little frightened open the envelope. But as long as you’re okay do not open it.”

The train pulled away from the station. Suddenly there was no sign of his hometown. The conductor very gruffly took his ticket. A group of angry looking men began to argue in the seats behind him. The train rattled on. George realized that he was alone. Looking around his lower lip began to tremble. Hard as he tried his eyes started to fill with tears and then he remembered his father’s envelope. George reached into his pocket, opened it, and saw the following words written in his father’s script, “George my son, I’m in the last train car!”

George’s father was right with him on the train even though George was not aware of that fact. George’s father traveled with him, and once George realized the presence of his father he was at peace. As we begin this Season of Advent, we celebrate our God who is with us on the journey. We even have a beautiful name for our constant companion, the Hebrew name Emmanuel which means in English – “God is With Us.” Advent is a time to awaken to the presence of God within us. Prayer is the way that we experience our God who is closer to us than we are to ourselves. What one activity will you choose to lead you closer to the God who dwells within you?