Merry Christmas – God is with you.
Wonderful time of year, Christmas! We get to spend it with the people we love, we have a break from the crush of living, we get to sing carols – and how good are some of them? We get to eat turkey, Christmas pudding, sweets, treats and a stomach full. People seem somewhat happier and maybe even nicer, and that is never a bad thing. In the Northern Hemisphere we get snow, frosty breath, rugged up warmth, Christmas lights to make up for the shy absence of the sun – it has gone south for the winter and can you blame it? And we have more Santa’s than you hope a child ever sees, and starts to put two and two together.
All good and all fun. No need to get Cromwellian about it and ban everything ‘Christmas’ for fear of commercialization and a drift from the moorings of the ‘reason for the season.’ Mind you the Puritans had a point. Still, being a party pooper isn’t very endearing and it didn’t make the remembrance of Christ’s birth more memorable to the average person/church goers. Everyone likes Christmas unless they are a Grinch or a ‘good’ atheist.
It is up to us to celebrate in the midst of the tinsel and holly the actual purpose of Christmas. In the gospel of Matthew we are told Joseph was to name the child Jesus, meaning ‘God is with us’ – ‘Emmanuel.’
This is the most important thing, the backdrop of all our celebrations – the fact that God has declared himself close to us and on our side. He is so ‘for us’ that Paul asks the questions in Romans 8, who can possibly be against us? No one is the resounding implication.
Of all the things about God’s relation to us little can better the knowledge that he is for us and not in opposition to us, against us, forever angry with us. On the contrary Jesus was God’s way of saying I’m with you, I understand you, I love you and I have good plans for you.
God is with you when others may not be (and sometimes for good reason, we need to admit); God is for me when I’m not for me. God is for me and difficulties are no proof of opposition to us. God is for you.
Merry Christmas – Happy ‘God is with us.’