“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). -Matthew 1:23
The day is quiet. The snow falls softly. The families are gathered. Preparations are being made. Preparation for roasted turkeys and stuffed stockings. Preparation for open hearts and encounters with the Divine.
It is the most sacred day of the year. The most sacred moment in history. The stillness of waiting. Longing for what the morning will bring.
The sky is dark. The world is isolated, in desperate need for a God touch. An epiphany. Stranded in sin, trapped and shackled to a world that isn’t right. With baited breath and upturned eyes we yearn for something to come, to change the course of the future.
People walking in darkness. People sitting in gloom. People living in shadows. People surrounded by death. We all wait in the silence. Wait, and hope.
The anticipation is thick. You can reach out and touch it. It is seeping through all the cracked hearts and torn up lives. It is evident. We are all waiting this day. Waiting for what tomorrow will bring. Waiting for the news of hope, of comfort, of mega joy promised to the lost souls of the world.
And in the stillness you can hear it. Faintly in the distance it rises. Softly at first, barely breaking the silent longings. But now it grows. The sounds of unspoken hope raising into a joyful chorus. The sound of muffled sobs transformed into jubilant praise. The sound of chains clinking as the fall off the bound hands and feet overtaken by the sound of church bells peeling.
Over the hills it rises. To the skies it rings out. Louder and louder. The grateful choruses of sweet and joyful hymns.
The words to the song of joy is simple. Three words is all that needs to be said on this Holy Day.
God With Us.
Because there is now nothing that is greater than that truth. Nothing that can remove this gift from our life. Nothing that can be overshadowed by this profundity.
The presence of God now radically re-orients every detail of our life. The God-child coming to dwell with us, to pitch his tent among us humans. To live in our dailiness and walk our paths.
And though this may not be what it was expected, the light that the people in darkness were hoping for, it is the answer to all the longing hearts on this silent, holy night.
Because no matter the muck, the mire, the dirtiness, or pain God is now here and all can be well.
All is well because Emmanuel.
No matter what the hurt. No matter what the circumstance. No matter what the destruction and devastation we face there is this year the greatest news is being proclaimed.
God is with us. There is nothing that we could open up tomorrow morning that would be greater than this gift.