The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:14

The word ‘selah’ throughout Scripture is used as an exclamation mark at the end of a verse to help us pause and reflect on its meaning. Today, in day 12 of our Christmas Devotional Series we are resting on John 1:14. Selah.

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Dwelling in the Christmas Season

by Amit Khaira

Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of spending two or three weeks through Djilba (first spring) in a region of Australia known as the “red centre”.

Living out of a swag, the red dirt beneath my feet and the glittering expanse above lighting my night path, I lead my students into select remote communities of Central Australia and as we sit around bonfires, listening to the stories of our First Nations people.

A highlight of these expeditions is the 60-plus kms of hiking we do in silence around major landmarks in the Kata Tjuta and Watarrka national parks.

Before embarking on the journey, I ask my students “What does it mean to be present in this space?” I encourage them to remain in this contemplative posture as they make their way around the base of Uluru then through the beauty of Kings Canyon.

Slow down.

Breathe deeply.

Listen carefully.

Look intently.

Breathe again.


Many of the students end up taking off their shoes. I often find them sitting under the shade of monolithic rocks or the canopy of native trees, journaling thoughts, reflecting individually, absorbing the sights and sounds of this sacred land … giving themselves completely to the experience.

How many other feet have walked this path?

How many generations have called this place home?

What has been celebrated here? Why?

How much blood has been spilled here? Why?

From what lands have tourists come?

What are their reasons for visiting?

Endless narratives. Much joy and pain. Deep history. We recognise that we are now part of the story.

In John 1:14 we have recorded the moment in history when the Word, Jesus, full of grace and truth, put on flesh and stepped physically into history. He chose to come and dwell. He chose to walk at our pace, breathe the same air, to listen and see up close. There was intent without the rush. There was exigency without heaviness.

He chose to be present with us. To dwell with us. The power of presence exemplified through the One who was, and is, and is to come.

To dwell. To slow down. To listen and look. To enter into another’s story with the grace and truth of Christ. This is the ministry of Compassion. This Christmas, will you take the time to feel the joy and pain of the places and spaces where you dwell?

Dear God, Teach me through another’s story to understand what it is like to walk in their shoes. Show me something through these stories of hope, survival, and courage. Help me to slow and dwell here, as Christ did. Deliver me from my self and help me to listen once again. Amen

Amit Khaira

Amit Khaira is committed to helping others recognise that the Kingdom of God is worth living and dying for and his passion is for gospel transformation in our cities and regions. He and his wife, Skye, have four active, beautiful children. Amit serves as a Relationship Manager with Compassion Australia.

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At the Table Conversation Starter

What does it mean to listen to the story of another and dwell with them?

Let us be prayerful and dwell in spaces of compassion this Christmas.

Advent Compassion Challenge

How can you slow down this Advent and focus on the presence of Christ in your everyday?

Would you light a candle as a family and reflect for a moment on Jesus’ choice to dwell with us? Hold hands around the dinner table and say grace, even though it is a busy season?

Articulate one way that you can slow and acknowledge the presence of Christ this Christmas. Another way you can contribute is by meeting children’s most urgent needs through the Where Most Needed fund. Click here to play a part in the answer.

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