With Us

December 19, 2010
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel
which means “God with us.”
Matthew 1.22-23/Isaiah 7:7.14

Back in Christmas, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas” and it soared to the top of the charts and became an instant Christmas classic.  That’s because Christmas, 1943, America was in the darkest days of World War II and millions of people would not be home for Christmas and hundreds of thousands of others would never come home again.  And nearly everyone was thinking about that, Christmas 1943.

A song like that can strike a cord with us too, because we all want to be home for Christmas.

That’s because it’s all about relationships.  We want to love and be loved and be in love and be around people who love us.  It’s why everyone will be going to all kinds of effort this week to go home, to get home, to bring loved ones home.  

Rick Warren likes to say, “Do you know what it means when someone says they’ll be ‘With you in spirit’?  Nothing.  Unless you’re dead, where your body goes, that’s where you’re spirit is.” 

Presence matters.

This Christmas, you’re family may be gathering and you are really going to enjoy it all.  But maybe they won’t, maybe it didn’t work out this year, maybe people had other obligations. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, and there is an absence where there should be a presence.  

Presence can make or break our heart.

That’s why its so great to go to the fairgrounds for Christmas Eve.  Its the one night of the year when our entire church-family can actually come together and be together and worship together. If you haven’t taken advantage of this event you need to join us.

We’re better together, because God made us that way.  He made us for relationships with people as a way of helping us learn about how to have a relationship with him. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus is “God with us” in order to have a relationship with us.  The Almighty doesn’t need a relationship with me, but he wants one because I need it.  He is my greatest good and highest happiness and I need to cultivate a relationship with him. And I need it now, not in the new year or when I get around to it, now.

But we don’t need to strive and seek and work harder and jump higher and figure out rules and rituals and religion. He’s already with us.He is present in our assembly when we gather in his name.  He is present in his word, when it is proclaimed, when we get into it in prayer.  He is present in the Eucharist.  But his presence is going to be practically worthless to me, unless I am present to him.

This great week leading up to Christmas is a great time to be present to the Lord as he is present to you, mindful of him, talking to him, trusting him.  Because all the good things we wants to give you this Christmas are on the other side of your trust.  


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