God with us

Well, it’s nearly here…and it’s got nothing to do with the pandemic or panic buying, or anything else that occupies our waking moments! It’s far away from us in time and space and yet it is the ‘reason for the season’,

It is a time of gathering for families both near and far, and yet this year, our usual plans have been thrown into disarray, often at short notice. The usual ‘anchors’ in our lives, in these moments of gathering, have been unable to hold us in the same way, and we’ve had to adapt and think laterally. This is massively uncomfortable for each of us in our own particular way, and we find it difficult to articulate what is in our hearts and our thinking. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I feel cast adrift on a very choppy sea.

But it is nearer now than when I started writing this reflection. Lift your gaze to the picture above; it has no words attached to it, and it is a sillhouette and interpretation of a reality that came our way a couple of thousand years ago. Parents, baby, shelter, town, blokes on camels…..and?!…YOU…reading this!

The heart of the whole seemingly crazy story is the word uncertainty. A word that stalks our thoughts in these days. The whole point of this amazing story is that God took a massive risk, out of a heart of overwhelming love. He sent his Son,,, Jesus to tell us all how much he loves us. He even had an extra name given to Jesus, Immanuel, which is Hebrew for ‘God with us’.

This is love; experiencing the reality of human existence.

I remember a conversation I had with a prisoner when I worked as a Chaplain. He was angry about life and angry with God. He came to the Christmas Service and I spoke about Jesus being,,’God with us’, in the middle of all the craziness of life. After the service he came up to me with tears in his eyes, shook my hand and said…’I understand now…thank you’.

Have a blessed Christmas.

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