“The Lord, your God, is in your midst” (Zep 3:17).
Do we remember this, when we’re together at table or party? Do we call the truth to mind, as we’re racing through airport or freeway? Wherever two or three are gathered, there is God in our midst. Even a family of two – a married couple, a single parent with child, a grandparent and grandchild – are full family. And, Scripture says, full presence.
“For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!” (Isa 12:6)
The space between us is sacred, then. We hug and kiss, or jostle and fight, or bristle and ignore. Dynamics between family members are hyper-charged this time of year, Hallmark movies and holiday cards plastering perfect smiles on our edgy expectations. Can we measure up to our own hopes, let alone our culture’s commercialized Christmas? Can we even stand to be in the same room as the ones we’re supposed to love?
“The Lord is near” (Phil 4:5).
There it is. Quiet truth. Enough for Sunday, enough for Advent, enough for joy, for all of us. For family, too. The hardest work we do on this earth is often within the bonds we suppose should be seamless. Flesh and blood, or marriage and choice. Shouldn’t it be simple and sweet to love each other? Hardly. Hardest, sometimes. But wherever we are as family, God is there, too. Promise and fact. The Lord is near, which means peace comes close behind. If we see it. If we welcome it. If we stop our rushing and wrestling and wanting. If we start to see the face of God, familiar in each other.