Christmastime is here, although there is no snow. No snow at Christmas feels strange to me, kind of surreal, like something significant is missing. I like a white Christmas all peaceful, nostalgic, and made for snuggling up with a cup of cocoa. But even without snow, there will be Christmas, and there will be my family, and we will open gifts and eat delicious food, and we will head to church and take communion and remember that Jesus became "God With Us" on that holiest of nights in the little town of Bethlehem. And I will think wistfully of loved ones who once celebrated with me and who are now memories that bring tender tears to my eyes. I will remember them and be thankful that I was put on this earth during their lifetimes to know them.
There’s a scene in the movie It's A Wonderful Life where George Bailey realizes his wish of never being born has come true. He searches his person and discovers there are things missing that make him and his life real. He finds no wallet, no insurance papers, but worst of all, when he checks his pocket, no Zuzu's petals. That hits him hardest of all… no Zuzu’s petals. If the petals are missing, that must mean no wife, no family, that those he loved most dearly were nonexistent. And who was he without them?
I can’t imagine Christmas, or life itself, without family, but more importantly, without Jesus. When it comes down to it, Christmas would still come without presents or snow or traditions honored. Remember, even the Grinch couldn’t steal it from Whooville. But it wouldn’t come without Christ. If He had never been born we would be, most certainly, in a sorry state. Who are we, after all, without Him?
He came as Immanuel – God With Us, The Word Made Flesh. He came, and he humbled himself to dwell among us, breathing our air, feeling the aches of the body, knowing love and loss, and all the time still being God. He was born, and lived; then he died and lives! He is God With Us still as he promised in Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Even now, He continues to be God With Us, and with him we are salt and light in a bitter and dark world that seems to have no room for him. With him we are known and loved and saved. With him we are free and whole and forgiven.
With him, it truly is a wonderful life, and a Merry Christmas!
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us.”)” Matthew 1:23