I spent some time this morning reading from a book I’ve been enjoying: The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I actually reread the chapter from yesterday. It expanded my mind and brought insight that was breath-taking. The author described the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai in terms of a Jewish wedding; the components of the (cloud) covering, the time of purification, and the contract. Seen in this light, the 10 Commandments are a reflection of a loving relationship and not an angry set of rules. This longing for relationship and loving commitment from God for those He created is absolutely astounding. It is at the same time beautiful and powerful and desperately sad. So much love and blessing and relationship God offers his people; so many lies and betrayals his people give in return. Not just the Israelites of ages past, but anyone who is a Christ-follower today, me included.

Oh how I want my heart to long for Him the way I long for a vacation or a warm breeze on a spring day. I want my heart to be fully given to Him, my thoughts to be about Him throughout each day, longing for a chat, sitting near one another and sharing thoughts unspoken. Just being together.

The kindness of God I take for granted too regularly, as He waits. It’s not like He isn’t doing anything else, but in His expansiveness, He can be caring for the entire world and still long for me to long for Him. Long for me to make space for Him. And time.

God is with us in our difficult times and it’s easy to forget Him during the good times. The relationship God wants isn’t that of a paramedic, but a bridegroom, the closest most intimate friend. God is the Alpha and the Omega, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace; He’s our Physician, Wonderful Counselor and our Shepherd. He’s the Bridegroom. And all year long, not just at Christmas, He is Emmanuel.

Emmanuel…God with us. With. With us! With me, with you!

What a marvel!

This time of year maybe a bit more than at other times, I scurry around, busy and distracted and I don’t allow God With Us to be with me. Unintentionally I shun His mind boggling gift and end up hurting myself and hurting His heart. How can God be with me if I don’t slow down and make the time and the place; if I don’t make our relationship my priority?

I’ve gotten pretty good over the years with starting every day reading God’s Word and journaling and praying, but I’ve found of late that I’m not very good at listening, just being with Him.

I’m like a puppy put on a leash – pulling, twisting, tugging, and I just need to wear myself out, reach the end of my tether and finally lay down. My mind is busy, my body is antsy and I need to ask Emmanuel to help me stop. I need to ask the One who longs to be with me to help me be with Him.

The amazing thing is, He will! He stops and stoops and joins me in my little world, my little life because He is Emmanuel. He is God with us. God with me. God with you.

What a mystery He is – His attention is completely undeserved – His kindness a glorious gift of love.

Maybe I’ll bake no cookies this year. Maybe the house won’t get decorated as extensively. But I plan on becoming better friends with Emmanuel. My King, my God, my With Me Friend.


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9 Responses to “With”

  1. Tami Kolar Says:

    So grateful for your writings, Kris. Great things to ponder and act on! And no, my house is not “fully” decorated this year! Trying to keep things simplier. BUT realizing it’s not just about simplier–time WITH Jesus is the perfect answer to keeping the season simple!

  2. Amy Dempsey Says:

    Beautiful, your note gave me a lot to think about.
    Merry Christmas

  3. Roger Boetger Says:

    I almost daily call on Jesus at least once, often multiple times, to help me find a solution to a challenge or just help me change my Attitude or thoughts. I’ve assumed he was with me because I speak with him. I’ll have to make sure I’m really not doing the paramedic thing. Thanks for the reminder. Roger

  4. Amy Lesch-Adangnihoude Says:

    Thank you for the reminder. The Christmas hustle and bustle often get the best of me. Everyday and everywhere I have to stop and remember that God is there for us. We just have to give him the time. God bless you this day and every day.


  5. Jolene Pace Says:

    You are amazing! You are able to express what I know myself and others are thinking. Your words are so powerful. It is overwhelming how much God loves me and desires to be WITH me even when I come up short of His goal!!!!!

  6. Les Says:

    This “with” blog inspires me to love God and you more.

  7. pmhanz Says:

    oh kris, that is my heart also. i am overwhelmed by his great love ❤ thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. Ren Says:

    I love this.. It’s relatable, it’s real, it’s perfect..

  9. Barbara Vierk Says:

    Kris, just yesterday I thought about your blog and wondered if you would write again. Just yesterday!

    Just now I sat down to put something in a desk drawer and decided to open my email. My thoughts were that I would delete the new ones, the many coming during the holiday, making the job of deleting smaller for the next time I sit down. Then I had to get busy again doing some laundry and ironing before going to a tea this afternoon. Had I thought about stopping a few minutes to sit with Jesus? No. Do I feel like I treat Jesus like a paramedic? Yes. Do I feel like a puppy on a leash? Yes.

    Have you inspired me to go sit with Jesus for a few minutes right now? Yes. I want to ponder the Ten Commandments through the lens of a Jewish wedding. I want to see what my Bridegroom has to say.

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