When I followed the ambulance down to Columbus, it carrying one of my life’s treasures, I didn’t cry. I called a friend, made lists and recited mantras (strong body, soft heart). But you know what brought me to tears? An inbox full of Starbucks gift cards.

Please, don’t think me too materialistic. I love coffee, but that’s not the point.

This past week we’ve been surrounded, carried and lifted. Family gathered our children, friends fed them, parents ferried them to where they needed to be next. My sister filled my freezer with healthyish survival food. My mom is doing laundry and vacuuming up our dogs’ attempts to not be forgotten. And people have flooded me with notes telling me they are praying.

These things. They are so very helpful. They make us feel better and they make life even a teensy bit easier. But it’s not just the actual thing – the help, the card, the word – which lifts up our hearts. It’s the intention. I see through the thing and see people who earnestly want to enter into this place with us. They want to “be there” in any way possible. Some will sit by our sides, others fill our cups, but it’s really the same to me. They say, “I see you. I love you. I’m with you.”

Which is the spirit of the season. I love the time leading up to Christmas because I’m in love with incarnation. For several years I’ve been weepy every Sunday of Advent. Behind it all is this God who said to all of humanity, “I see you, I love you, I’m with you.”

This week we’ve been waist-deep in our people’s versions of incarnation. Friends, you have not simply been nice or thoughtful or helpful. You have embodied the spirit of God-with-Us.

Do I mean that Jesus coming to earth is like when people give me a SBX giftcard? No. I’m saying that those gift cards and meals and words from afar – those are our attempts to live out that sense of Incarnation set within us. I mean to say, when you love others, you are like God. You are shining God’s image.  When you love like that, you evoke the presence of God in our lives.

Thank you.

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