I love Christmas Carols. I love trying all the harmonies and usually messing them up and singing completley out of tune, but mostly I just love that they can be so very insightful. My favourite Christmassy chorus is Emmanuel. It sums the whole of Christmas up.
That the Creator of the Universe chose to be so completely with us to the extent that God became a not very majestic, need to eat, need to drink, need to empty my bowels person. What a very tough standard to set. Rather than pouring out gifts from a lofty distance, God made it personal—embracing a life so starkly opposite to the splendour God could have.

Last year, Bono, of u2, said “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”

God is with us when we are with them. As the Salvation Army we are really good at doing lots for the poor and suffering over Christmas. We try and take the opportunities to give food parcels and help at the meals. But I just wonder if we—were we really serious about doing things God’s way– should make it more personal. Certainly the challenge for myself this Christmas– and far, far beyond– is to be with people in the same way that God was with us in Jesus. Journeying with people in gnarly, unhygienic poverty, going to great extent to experience life with them, not to bestow gifts of time and money on people from a comfortable platform, but to be incarnate with them. But how to?! I pray God will reveal this to me through the life of Emmanuel.

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