Do you need a little Christmas joy? Though the holidays are hard for some, I love Christmas because it reminds me of Emmanuel, God With Us.

I love colored lights, I love boxes, and packages, and bows. I love Christmas trees and ornaments. I love all the little things that remind me of family times and happy times of Christmases past. Those memories bring both smiles and tears.

I miss my mom and dad and the almost 50 Christmases we shared together. I miss my sister at Christmas time, because, through much of our lives we were together on Christmas. I miss what Christmas was when the girls were small and we were all together.

Christmas could be sad, but for me it is still joyous. Why? Because of the constant that stretches from my very first Christmas and that will extend until my very last. God with us! Emmanuel! When everything changes and looks and feels different, there is one constant in my life that does not change, but keeps getting sweeter and better–it is my relationship with the love of my life, Jesus Christ! God with us! I know him, he is real, and I feel his presence in my life almost continually.

“… and his name shall be called ‘Emmanuel’, meaning ‘God With Us!'” (Matthew [1:23], Isaiah [7:14])

You see, some think “God With Us” meant Jesus in flesh walking the streets of Israel for a few decades, and it did, but the Bible shows that it meant far more than that. It meant God opened the door for the Spirit of Christ to live in us, to dwell with us personally, in us, forever. This is salvation. This is reconciliation to God.

Let me tell you about my present sorrows…some of our kids are not with us this Christmas, our two grandchildren are not with us, that makes me sad. Let me tell you about joy, immense joy, my wife Donna, one of the kindest, most precious, and most beautiful women I’ve ever met will be with me! Some of our great and awesome kids will be with us for at least part of the holidays. But most of all, the one constant, the one overwhelming joy is present, God with us!

When my heart was broken, the 23rd Psalm was a healing salve. I am always comforted by that one phrase, “…I will fear no evil because he is with me.” Emmanuel. We celebrate Emmanuel at Christmas! Not “God far away”…but “God with us!”

There is a scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas where, after having all of their possessions stolen, the Whos gathered in their town square, joined hands, and began to sing. The Grinch thought that by stealing everything they had, he would rob their joy and shut them up. It didn’t happen, because, you cannot lose that which is most important.

[shareable]You cannot lose that which is most important. Emmanuel, God With Us![/shareable]

I love Christmas because of what it means. One thing we will always do as long as I have the means and strength, is to gather whoever is with us on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, give thanks to the Lord, and take communion together. We will remember his coming in flesh and blood, making a way to be with us always. Someone will always be missing from the table, but One will always be present, every year, all the way to the end.

Emmanuel. God with us!

Merry Christmas!