It’s the community that counts.

If you have ever felt a sense of “lost-ness” in your life, don’t panic. It happens to all of us. Sometimes the platform we build for ourselves to stand on — the “I” I like to think I am — doesn’t work. So we in a sense “fall”.

It is then we need community. A community is a group of people pledged to support one another. “I’ll be there for you because I know you will be there for me.” If that does not happen — if we all just live for ourselves alone — you will not have nor need community. And you will have no support when those quiet weak moments come and we feel very alone.

I belong to a faith community; people whose faith — that “connect” with God that means so much — is shared and who are there for each other. Sometimes I have my doubts about my faith. I think too much, or I want concrete signs that don’t come. Or I want proof that the God I put my faith in is real. These doubts are perfectly normal.

But here is the cool part. When those doubts come I gain strength knowing while I have my doubts for the moment, YOU DON’T! Your faith supports mine. Your faith in God shines while mine does not. So I let my faith be supported by yours. That’s how a community of faith works.

Make the path straight!

There is some discussion whether the birth of Jesus actually happened the way described in the Christian Bible. Out of four narratives, only two describe an actual “birth”. The details in those two narratives of Jesus’s birth are far apart. But here is the point. All four narratives describe the fact that the person Jesus was God-come-down. By what he did, the way he acted towards people, and the things he said could only be accomplished by God. Like healing the blind, casting out the demons of leprosy, offering forgiveness, to name a few, were and are known to be acts of God. Let it be said, then, that in Jesus, human beings encountered God present in their lives.

Up to that point, God had been involved in the lives of people. That was clear. Prophets reminded people of God’s activity in their lives. Holy men and Holy women spoke often of and gave witness to God’s power. But in Jesus, the God who was and is still present in the lives of Jewish people was present now in a very real personal way in Jesus. In Jesus, God’s presence was face to face; the encounter with God was an eye level experience. There. God-come-down. To You. For You.

This is still true today. God can move in people’s lives. I have seen this over and over. The Spirit of God in Jesus continues as a real possibility in our lives. When people say “may Jesus be born in your heart” what they mean is be open inside; make space for grace; know that the same God who revealed God’s presence in Jesus can do the same thing in each person, including you. This does not make us God or Jesus. It does give us that sense that we mean something to God and that we will never be alone.

But we have to get out of the way. As the ancient prophet said, we must “make the path straight.” In other words get out of the way. Let God dwell in us; let God enter our lives right where we are. Do this by moving away from the way we think God should act or be towards us. Enter into the mysterious presence of the God who – as Jesus revealed—is and wants to continue in a personal relationship with each of us. And that includes you.