Thursday, December 25, 2014

With Us

One of the names ascribed to the Christ during the Christmas season is Immanuel. It means "God is with us." For me, particularly during walking year, the idea has been significant.

During our roughest moments, we need, more than anything, the presence of others. Not just hanging around, but not just being in the same room. I have all sorts of friends and family who have tried to help me during my difficulties, and advice has been helpful. But what has meant the most is that they have let me have a few minutes of just being with me, "[rejoicing] with those who rejoice, [weeping] with those who weep."

sometimes the bread and wine
bring me to tears i don't understand
and sometimes You find me
in the field thinking i'm alone
and feed me again

And solitude is not being by one's self. Prayer has been at times more fragmented, part moan, part exclamation (of praise, anger, frustration), part looking down at the dirt and walking in slow careful steps, part looking at the sky to take in the beauty of streaking clouds and hiding suns and moons.

But it's the "being with" that makes the most difference. Good friends, most of us know, don't always speak in words, and sometimes do not seem to speak at all. I've never been a good friend to God, but He's always been with me, not just listening to my many complaints.

too often i've heard
only echoes of my hurt
my voice bouncing off
the walls of the universe
mouth closing my ears

During the Christmas Eve service last night, our priest said, "And there was Mary, holding Immanuel." I noticed my daughter giggling, and I started to give her a father's frown of rebuke. She made the sign for book, and whispered, "I thought he said Mary was holding a manual."

And so I thought, perhaps we look for God in all the rules, all the things that seem to bring order to life, when the real need is us to accept God with us. Walking. Stumbling. Laughing. Weeping. With us, Being.

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