Monday, December 17, 2007

Are you there?

Are You there? Are You there?
Do You watch me when I cry?
And if it’s in Your power,
How can You sit idly by?
I try so hard to please You
But you never seem to see
Is it my fate to sit and wait?
Wonder what my struggle means
I wish I knew that someone out there cared -
Cared for me...

("Are You There?", from the pop opera "bare")

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring
you good news of great joy that will be for all the
people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been
born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11, NIV)

It's the week before Christmas, and the battle is on. Several radio stations are playing continuous Christmas carols, Christmas specials are on TV every night, and every page of the newspaper is packed with ads selling Christmas joy. Against this background, so many churches are trying to shout, "HEY! Over HERE! See, it's about CHRIST, the Savior!"

I finally heard someone ask the ultimate question yesterday. Hearing one more "He's the reason for the season" message, one disgruntled shopper said, "Yeah, fine, it's about Christ, Christ is born, I get it. But so what?"

Wow. So what, indeed.

Do we ever stop and ask ourselves WHY it is such a big deal that Christ is born?

For me, it comes back to the song quote at the start of this - a song sung by two boys at a Catholic high-school. Things aren't going so well in their lives, and their song cries out the question, "Are you there, God?" Is God there, and does God know, really know, how hard life is, at times?

The answer to the question is in the manger. Yes, God knows - because God was here. Present, and fully human. Emmanuel - God WITH us. Right here, with us. As lowly and as persecuted and troubled as us.

The reason for "the reason for the season" is to let us know that God was right alongside us; hungry and cold and tired and struggling just as we are. We are never alone, because there is One who walked among us. Right here, with us. Emmanuel.

That knowledge, that understanding brings more peace to me than an awful lot of the dogma and doctrine I've swallowed over the years. The knowledge and assurance of a limitless God who knows how limited and powerless I can be, and is present for me in those times, has literally been the difference between "going on" and "not going on" more than a couple times in my life.

God of beauty and power, I give thanks to You today for the gift of Jesus - the Emmanuel who walked among us as one of us. Remind me of Christ's presence as the challenges of the worldly holiday come upon us. It helps to know that you are "there," God, because we know your Son was "here." Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought this post was really beautiful. I appreciate what others say about faith, as I myself have been searching for it. Christ came into my life when I was at my lowest and needing His presence more than ever, despite denying Him so much in the past. I decided to follow your blog, because your intro spoke to me. As I said, I have recently came to Christ, and my boyfriend is currently struggling to overcome a dependency on alcohol. Today he asked me if he could go to church with me, and I cannot describe how happy it made me.

Happy writing!