Sunday, December 25, 2011

With Us

Well I wasn't going to post over Christmas, and honestly, I've been feeling pretty low and uninspired.  However there's been a glimmer of something hopeful and peaceful that I thought I would share.

This has been a bit of a hard Christmas, so far.  (It's Christmas Day here now - I know my US friends still have one sleep to go!)  My extended family gets together on Boxing Day, so this afternoon, as I type, it is quiet and restful.   The kids and I are at my mum's now, having done the "usual" family Christmas morning thing at home, for the first time as a separated couple.  It was a bit rough.  On all of us, I think.  There was a bit of na-na-nastiness re Christmas arrangements yesterday... but it didn't last long.  Mostly it was just a bit awkward and sad.

Like all holidays, really, Christmas can sometimes be very tough.  The fact that we feel it is supposed to be all about love and togetherness just makes the lack of those things, where it exists, an extra raw
experience.  Mother's Day has often been like that for me (& I know others who find that day hard too) due to the loss of a child.  Any special holiday can have that effect, I guess.

Anyway.  In that context, a few short thoughts about what Christmas really does mean.

As an aside (& not the point of this post); I have no problem at all with the tradition of gift-giving.  Leaving the ugly commercialism aside (and there's really no need to buy into that anyway), giving thoughtful gifts, and finding ways to show those around you that they are valued, is an entirely appropriate way to reverence God who gives.  And it seems to me that even if your thoughts aren't on God - the freedom and joy of giving and enjoying one another still rings with the echoes of God's Kingdom.

But gift giving aside (& there are times when that can seem very hollow and empty) the part of the first Christmas story that is the still point in my storm, this year, are the words "God with Us".

After all, that was the message of that first Christmas day.  That little Jewish baby, born into the mess of human physicality, poverty, politics and culture clashes, was God - come to walk WITH us.

To me, that's the Good News.  That's it!  God is with us.  He's not against us.  He's not above and beyond us.  With us. 


When my family is a mess.  He's with me.

When I'm sick.  He's with me.

When I can't pay the bills.  He's with me.

When I screw up my relationships.  Still with me.

When I run out of faith.   Still here.

When I'm grieving.  He's right beside me.

When I'm saying ugly words to my ex-husband.  He's still there.

When I can't still myself to hear him.  He's right there anyway.

When I don't WANT to hear him.  He's still there.  Waiting.

And I think the whole idea we so often get from religion, that God is out there waiting to come down heavy on us when we "sin" or don't get it right;  just doesn't fit with the message of Christmas - God WITH us - at all.

Right now, that is a big comfort to me.

So, peace on earth, good will toward men... and thank you, God, that you are with us.  No matter what.

Image sourced from:


  1. Oh Kerry, well said. That specific phrase - "God with us" - has been rattling through my brain recently. Thanks for fleshing it out like you did. It's very comforting!

  2. Hey, Ethan! Yes I read your blogpost too and it made me smile that we are on the same theme (I love it when that happens!! It's like a little confirmation of what you've been thinking/saying!) Thank you for the encouragement, my friend!

  3. I wont rain on your parade you probably both already know what i think, its not my task to make worried people even more depressed. Ethan, stick around charismatic circles long enough, people always say you're going to be great, speak prophecies for you, expect you to be the next super pastor or something. They do it to just about anyone, the thing is, having a job in small town is never a failure anyway. 1) Jobs in small towns are very hard to come by (you probably know that) and 2) dont measure yourself by what the media, hollywood throws at you. Hollywood is all fantasy, spin, all make believe and all about the conjuring of images.

    You're great, a decent person, if you are capable of loving, thats all you really need. Staying off the drugs and booze in a small town is an achievement. Staying clean, good mannered, friendly and caring, and having a job are all great achievments. Never put someone down because they are working in a small town, or doing a job hollywood or snobs think are low caste. If the rubbish wasnt collected weekly, we'd all be living in filth sorrounded by rats. Think about how important the girl or young man serving you at the supermarket, really is, and know there is honour and dignity in what you do. You too Kerry, Mum and Teacher!


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