When we care about someone, there are so many little ways we show that we care. There are so many ways that, even without words, we say, "whatever you're going through, I'm with you."
We say it when we show up at our grandchild's Christmas program.
We say it when we hold hands during a scary movie.
We say it through supportive teamwork at the office.
We say it by cheering from the stands of a youth sports game.
We say it when we bring food to new parents or a grieving friend.
We say it in a midday text to someone we love: "I'm with you, even though we're not together."
This time of year, we say it through gifts: "I'm with you, even if we are far apart."
In a hug when there simply are no words and when no one can fix whatever is broken, we say "I'm with you."
At Christmas, God shows up for us and says, "I'm with you."
God says it when God becomes one of us: "I'm with you, as one of you."
God says it when God comes in the middle of a mess - a pregnant teenager and a scared new dad with nowhere to sleep - and shows that holiness can happen anywhere: "I'm with you, in the middle of your complicated situations."
God says it by announcing the news to lowly shepherds first: "I'm with all people, especially those who are not powerful in the eyes of the world."
God says it in wise visitors from the East, bearing kingly gifts: "I'm with all people, from near and far."
God says it even to the animals in the barn: "I'm with you, too, and you will be the first witnesses of this world-changing birth."
God says it in Herod's fears: "I'm with you, and I will make your oppressors shake in their boots."
God says it in so many ways, in every corner of the Christmas story, and in the countless stories that follow - the stories of the people of God in the Bible, and the stories that we are living today, as God's people in this time and place.
God is with us. God is with you, whether you are overjoyed this Christmas or struggling. In this baby, God becomes one of us, showing up for us in every way. In life, in death, and everywhere in between and forevermore.
Join us Sunday, as we celebrate Immanuel, God with Us.