This morning, I was outside with one of my dogs, Jennie (my blue heeler mix). She was, per usual, trying to get into something under the carport. I started calling her name to get her back out of the (freezing) cold. "Jennie! Jennie! JENNIE!!" And finally, on the third time, I caught her attention and she came running. She knew just like that that the way I said it meant to get here now.
She knows her name, and she knows what it means when she hears it.
Names define people. We define the world by giving things a name. A meaning. A purpose.
She will have a son, and they will name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." Matthew 1:23
God is with us.
He was born on this day we call Christmas, to be with us. And He still is.
I read this from Pastor Mike Glenn's twitter page: "The Good News of Christmas isn’t that Jesus is coming, but that’s He’s here.”
He's coming back in flesh, some day. But until then, He hasn't disappeared. He's present in our lives, in our homes, our schools-He's here. And He's not going anywhere.
He's with us. He's in us. Sometimes He just can't be easily found in us (at least in my life, that's true).
It kinda bugs/annoys me when people talk about keeping "Christ" in Christmas. Not that I don't think it's a noble cause, making it less about presents and more about celebrating the birth of Jesus. That's a great thought, no doubt about it (though some go a bit overboard with the whole crusade).
But the fact is, presents or not, there's no keeping "Christ" out of Christmas-He IS Christmas. He is IN Christmas whether acknowledged or over-acknowledged.
Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, Christ is there-He's present in the joy of the morning coming down to see what Santa brought, in the giggles and "oohs and ahhs" over the goodies in your stocking, in the simplicity of wrapping paper and pretty ribbon being torn to shreds, in the smiles of parents seeing their kids so happy and overjoyed, He's in the comfort and laughter spending a day celebrating with your family and loved one brings, in the sheer happiness that is Christmas- He's the reason it's possible.
He's here, and He is "God with us, Emmanuel"- always present and always alive in us.
And for this, I am thankful for Christmas- the day we celebrate that God is here among us, in the form of sweet baby Jesus in a manger. :)
I leave you with this beautiful song by Francesca Battistelli-it has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.
Thank you, Jesus, for coming here. For being here. And for staying here, even when Your people stray, You never leave us. Thank you for Christmas, and the joy of celebrating Your birth and arrival on this earth to save us from ourselves. What a beautiful blessing to the world You are, today and every day!
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel :)