The most amazing thing about Christmas to me is summed up in one of the names for Jesus--Emmanuel. Emmanuel means "God with us." God chose to identify with humanity by becoming human. Through Jesus' birth, God experienced the vulnerability of being a helpless baby. Jesus lived his first years with parents who were not wealthy nor of noble birth, but he discovered the wonderful value of his family relationships. God came to know first-hand about the pains and excitement of growing up as a child and adolescent (although we have little knowledge about exactly what those years were like for him). Jesus knew the wonderful joys of being human such as love, hope, and peace, but also the sorrows of human existence, such as pain, hunger, thirst, and betrayal. Because God became one of us through Jesus Christ, God more keenly understands the joys and challenges of daily life. This knowledge gives us a sense of comfort and even confidence as we turn to the Lord in prayer for life's celebrations and challenges. So, this Christmas, give thanks to God for the lengths of God's love through his gift of Jesus Christ, God With Us.