It is fun during the holidays to see all the group photos that make their way onto social media and adorn various Christmas cards. The groups that are not all family members usually have a caption that reads something like: “Here’s our small group from church; we have been doing life together for over ten years.”
What a great thought! Being part of small group that is literally doing life together-the good, the bad and the ugly. They are together for the joyous stuff like the birth of children or marriage of grown up kids. They are together for the sad times, providing support during illnesses and tragedies.
They laugh together. They cry together. They pray together. They play together. They rejoice together.
Being able to do life with dear friends represents a very basic need. No matter how self-sufficient we are, we really do need folks in our life.
Before the holiday season is gone, maybe this week is a good time to take another look at that phrase from Matthew 1:23 where the virgin will give birth to a son and they “shall call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us.’)”
Beyond the soteriological implications of God becoming man, there is a huge relational message focused on that phrase. God is choosing to do life with us!
He delights in sharing the great stuff (His first miracle occurred at a wedding). He hurries to come along side when we are in grief (watch Him weep at the grave of Lazarus). He shows up when we are failures (can you hear Him tell the adulterous woman to “go and sin no more?”) He delights in children. Loves family get togethers. Shares lots of meals with his friends.
He wants to do life with us. He wants to do all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. We do not have to pray and beg Him to come and share in our lives. As Matthew reminds us in chapter 19, “Where two or more are gathered, He is there with them.”
So as we start a new year, let’s imagine a series of snap shots showing events in our lives. Take a long look, can you see Him there? He is! He is doing life with us!