We say it to dinner guests. To friends who come to a significant event in our life like a graduation or wedding or family member’s funeral. It means so much to us when people come, when they show up.
A few years ago in my job as a Spanish medical interpreter, a hospital chaplain said these words to me as we finished a very difficult encounter with a grieving mom about her terminally ill child. He thanked me for coming and helping to bridge the communication gap.
Jesus came too. He came to bridge that gap between our misconceptions of who God is and what he is really like. Jesus went so far as to say “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” And one of the authors of the Bible said “He is the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of his being.” Wow.
He didn’t have to come, and no one ever traveled farther than he did or made more sacrifices to show us his showing-upness. That’s what Emmanuel means….God with us.
So at this time of year especially, I say to Jesus, “Thanks for coming.” He came then, but he also keeps showing up in my life for all the most difficult, messy, heartbreaking situations, and for the great things too.
And when I say “Thanks for coming” to Jesus, do you know what I imagine him responding? “Thanks for having me.”