This morning, the kids woke up at 6. (Sam was too excited about Saturday aka Minecraft day to sleep, and once one kid is up and twitching, it doesn't take long for the others to join.)
I got up with them, fed them breakfast, read Pascal stories, made coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, wiped the counter a hundred times, changed a stinky diaper, made a grocery list, mediated some fights, set out some more food for the big kids, turned on the tv, and finally Pascal was ready for nap. I tucked him in and tiptoed up to our room to slip back under the covers with Patrick for a few more minutes of sleep.
I did all those things because they set everything up for me to enjoy some cozy rest with Patrick.
Matthew chapter 1. It tells us that Mary is pregnant with a child from the Holy Spirit, and that Joseph was told by an angel in a dream to marry her anyway, because this baby was God's son, who would save his people from their sins.
'All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).'
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken [...] which means, God with us.
All of this crazy stuff - the immaculate conception, the angel dream, the warning from God - means one thing: God with us.
God with us.
You know how it feels, that happiness that blooms when you go out of your way to be with people you love? You're probably thinking right now of a bunch of examples all more amazing than me getting the kids set up for some solo play while I cuddle with Patrick. Maybe you flew across the country for a family event. Maybe you planned and prepped and sweated hard over a dinner for ten of your favourite friends. Maybe you arranged to sit next to your sister on her flight when she had no idea you'd be traveling too. (Well I know some of you have done these things because I'm stealing your examples!)
And I don't know about you but it kind of takes my breath away.
God did all this - to come down and be with us.
And that's what all the fuss is about, all the nativity plays and carols and candlelit services and all the glimmering whirlwind of Christmas ... we're celebrating the peculiar holy gift of God-with-us.
Merry Christmas, friends.