It is the most wonderful time of the year – filled with gatherings, gifts, and endless activities. We so often love it because it is a break from the routine and an opportunity to remind ourselves of the things that truly matter. Yet before we know it, we will blink, and it will all be over. The family will have returned home, kids will be back at school, and life will return to normal. Through the power of with we can maximize the moments that we have for what matters most.
In Matthew’s version of the Christmas story, he introduces Jesus through the lens of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. Isaiah predicts that Jesus’ name will be “Immanuel,” which Matthew defines as “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is the with us God. One of the beauties of the message of Christmas is that Jesus comes to get into the messiness of our lives and the brokenness of our world. He doesn’t run from the mess yet comes to meet us in the middle of our mess to rescue us from it.
The message of Immanuel is that in the midst of your Christmas and everyday life – Jesus came to be with you. In the middle of your first Christmas with an empty seat due to losing a loved one, Jesus is with you. In the middle of the diagnosis that redefines Christmas, Jesus is with you. In the midst of the Christmas that isn’t as perfect as you imagined, Jesus is with you.
At the core of Christmas, there is an invitation to be with. The different pace of life, the kids out of school, and the family around the table all offer an invitation to be with. We have extra time and moments with those we love to grow deeper in our family relationships. Jesus also wants to be with us. To remind us that the invitation of communion is always open. To remind us that we are loved and pursued even in the middle of the brokenness in our lives.
This Christmas, ask yourself two questions:
- How are you creating times to be with your kids and family?
- How are you connecting with the One who the season was meant to celebrate?
-Dr. Ben Birdsong
Author, Speaker, Minister