From the archives of Christmas past and remixed for 2017:
I am loving this song right now. Repeat-repeat-repeat. And then repeat some more.
She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’
Immanuel. It means God is with us. I return to this every Christmas. God is with us.
God is with us through colds, flu, cancer, broken bones, broken hearts, allergic reactions, depression and the everything in-between.
And God is with us in so healthy we tell absolutely everyone about how many days its been since we had a sick day and how much better life is now that we're meat free, gluten free and sugar free.
God is with us through the job that drains your life but doesn't fill your bank account, the job that you can't escape, your annoying colleagues and when we join the many and the humbled of the unemployed.
And God is with us through the much hoped for, much prayed for but now we've got it don't think we're equipped for promotion.
God is with us when we want nothing more than to find a valley, dig a giant hole, stock it full of good snacks and good books and then climb in and hide from the world forever.
And God is with us when we're standing on the mountaintop, basking in the sunlight, taking selfies for the 'gram and admiring the view.
God is with us when we’re o so can't-think-can't-speak-can't-remember-which-day-of-the-week-it-is tired.
And God is with us when we have so much energy we run around and around and around and around and around and around and still have enough energy left to power the most ridiculous pub Christmas lights you've ever seen:
God is with us in grief, mourning and the breathless heart wrenching pain of making it through just the next second after hope died and all is lost.
And God is with us in joy and celebration so great you find ways to bring it into each and every single conversation regardless of the original topic - so great to hear about your work trip to an oil rig in Norway and how you monitored the levels of Salmon but have I shown you a picture of my baby cousin yet? Isn't he the absolute most cute baby you've ever seen in your whole life? (the correct answer is yes). Did I tell you he can hold his head up now? Did I tell you he can pull my hair now? Did I tell you he can read books? Did I tell you he can count to 105 even though he's only 6 months old? Did I tell you he learnt to walk at just 3 months? Did I tell you he's the youngest baby ever to pass his driving test? Did I tell you? Did I tell you? Did I tell you? Did I?!
God is with us when we dread the day ahead more than being forced to watch yet another ridiculous Adam Sandler/Ben Stiller/Will Ferrell/other stupid boy film.
And God is with us when we're so excited for tomorrow that we can't even go to sleep and make the day come quicker.
God is with us through how on earth are we going to pay the rent this month.
And God is with us through we just won the lottery and we're taking everyone we know on a round the world adventure for two years, and then we're buying a yacht, and then we're buying a horse, and then we're buying a unicorn.
God is with us through "I said yes!" and the resulting admin.
God is with us through "It's over" and the resulting admin.
God is with us through (insert your situation here).
God is with us, even when it feels like he isn't, through every season and activity under heaven.
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even until the end of the age. Matthew 28v20
I was asked why its so important that God is with us. Its because it means that God cares. God is not aloof, watching the goings on of the world at an indifferent distance, but instead God is there in the midst of the mess with us, constantly cheering us on further in love and holiness, giving us strength to endure and hope, offering us comfort and an invitation to joy - a life and beyond in all its fullness.