One word has recurred to me this Christmas. It contradicts two unworthy ideas of God, each held by many people. The first idea, held mostly by religious people, is that God is angry and eager to punish. The second idea, held mainly by non-religious people, is that God is far away, careless of his creation.
This word I've been meditating on is Emmanuel. It is one of the names of Messiah, and it means God with us. Imagine God wanting to be with us!
He created us because he wants to be with us. He walked and talked with Adam and Eve, and the only reason that kind of relationship ended was their choice, not his. Human history traced through the Bible is of God reaching out to humanity and humans rejecting him.
Finally, God took on our nature and came to earth, Emmanuel in the person of Jesus. For thirty-three years in the midst of tyrannical government, wars, religious bigotry, poverty, sickness, he demonstrated God's desire to be with us.
I don't mean for this to become a sermon. I just want to encourage everyone to think about God wanting to be with you—always, in every situation.