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I played hide and go seek at the mall with my car the other day with a few other angry and frustrated pilgrims.  Once I got inside I realized at least in the car I was behind two airbags for defense.  Inside, It was the airbags standing in line behind me that had me worried.

Christmas is crazy, and this is only the first week.  It only ramps up from here.  As I sat on the couch in the center court with all the other men, while our wives or girlfriends shopped for bras-it dawned on me, this is perfect.  What a fitting backdrop to remember Advent.

As I read the infancy narrative, I suspect a very frustrated couple.  Interrupted plans, with an unexpected surprise.  We find social, political and cultural moments of chaos in the story.  We have Government policy that will cost much from an already poor people.  We have moments were Joseph is so discouraged he wants to divorce his soon to be wife.  We have Mary trying to convince her fiancé that her pregnancy is divine….(would loved to have been there).  We don’t read anything about the fights with parents, in laws, siblings and friends, but we know they happened.  The real miracle for Joseph isn’t that an angel speaks to him in a dream, but that he even slept at all.

This story reminds us that God chooses to be with us in the middle of it.  Joseph is told in his dream that this ‘in the middle of it’ Messiah will be know as ‘God with us’…in the middle of it.  What a beautiful statement that is ‘God with us’.  If you just take a moment and ponder the idea of God with us, it leads to ‘us with God’…it is inevitable. That statement informs all others.  Christmas informs our Easter…our Hannuka, our ground hogs day….you get the idea.

God with us is not just a statement about God, but a statement about his creation.

God with us.

God for us.

God through us

So when you find yourself outside of La Senza with all the other men, (or inside fighting over leopard print)  When you find yourself calling out the stereotypes in front of your kids while trying to find a parking spot.  When you find yourself googling to see if the $45 tree actually came from Nova Scotia,  When you find yourself in debt and exhausted. When you find yourself in the middle of it, remember….

God might be beyond your gaze, but he is never beyond your reach.

God with us.

God for us.

God through us.