With. This small word is a preposition. It’s not exciting like a verb or descriptive like an adjective. It’s just a preposition—a puny part of speech. Often we don’t even take the time to write out all four letters of the word; a “w” and a “/” suffice.
With is powerful.
Sitting with someone as they cry, mourn, or die.
Being with a woman as she births a baby.
Promising with the love of your life before God, family, and friends.
Being intimate with your husband or wife.
With describes and defines monumental life moments.
With also describes and defines Christmas. Immanuel, God with us, is why we celebrate. We have a God who came to earth as a baby to be with us—in our vulnerability, in our dependency, in our pain and agony, even in our mundane moments.
Jesus was on this earth with humanity for a little over thirty years. A few of those thirty years were remarkable, but most of them were likely mundane. He worked—honest, hard work with his hands. He ate and slept. He related to his immediate family.
Then Jesus promised to be with us always, even to the very end of the age.
At Christmas we celebrate this withness—how Jesus came to be with us on earth, and how we find hope and comfort in his promise to be with us always
But Christmas is over. The remarkable joy on kids’ Christmas morning faces has waned. They’re back in school; their parents are back at work. Bulging boxes of Christmas decorations are packed away, hidden for the mundane months ahead.
The season for celebrating Immanuel is over until next year. So what do we do now?
What if we inverted Immanuel? What if God with us became us with God?
God became flesh and came to earth. What did he come here to tell us?
God came here and told us to come with Him.
What if we worked at being with God until we celebrate God with us again?
What could being with God look like in your life, in your community?