Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year for me. I enjoy the songs on the radio, the atmosphere in our beautiful city of Utrecht and being together with family and friends. Christmas is extra special for us this year because of the birth of Raffie last August and the upcoming move to our new house. In addition to all these cozy things, Christmas is especially special for me because of the true meaning of Christmas. Because of Christmas, it can be Christmas every day. I would like to take you through this in this blog. Religion For me personally, Christmas is the ultimate proof of God’s love and desire for you and me. God who became human to be as close to you and to me as possible. Christmas shows that the core of our Religion, Christianity, is so radically different from any other Religion. First of all, it is not about our service to God but about God’s service to us – see here the true meaning of the word Religion. God came and is coming to you and to me, then and now.God’s desire Throughout the Bible we read about God’s desire to be present and dwell in the midst of our lives. It begins with a garden that He plants especially for man, a Paradise into which He can come down to be with us and walk with us – Genesis 3:8. Unfortunately, this goes wrong, but God’s desire remains the same. This is why God proposes to build a tabernacle, again with the same heart’s desire: I long to be in the midst of your lives. This also does not end well. Then God calls for the building of the temple, again looking for a place to dwell among us. This also does not end well. Then God comes with his master plan, namely: I myself come in my Son, Immanuel: God with us. It is not without reason that Jesus is called God’s tabernacle in John 1. In Jesus, God’s ultimate desire is revealed: I want to be in your midst, involved in every detail of your life. In the joy but also in the pain, God wants to stand next to you and me. And still this was not good enough to deeply fulfill God’s desire.Immanuel – God with us The Gospel of Matthew begins with God’s desire in chapter 1 verse 23: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Immanuel; translated that means: God with us. God himself became man in his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus’ life was a picture of how close God wants to be to you and to me. But God doesn’t just want to be with you, He wants to be deeply in you. In the middle of you as this became so beautifully visible in the garden, the tabernacle, the temple and Jesus. Matthew 1 begins with God’s desire and the last verse of this gospel confirms that this desire can now be fully fulfilled. What does Jesus say in the last verse? Matthew 28:20And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Hallelujah! It is finished. The Gospel of Matthew is embedded in these two verses. Why did Jesus come to us? Because God wants to be with us, not just 2,000 years ago but every day. What was needed for that? Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. That is why Jesus says in the last verse of Matthew: and now it is possible, from this moment on God is not only with you but also in you through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Wow.Homecoming This makes God’s deepest desire, but also your deepest desire, possible. Namely:man coming home to God, but also God coming home to man. What started with a garden and became deeply visible in Jesus, God’s tabernacle on earth is now fulfilled in you and me. God lives in you and in me. As close as He was in Mary; so tangible, audible and tactile. That’s how close He is to you. And this is the miracle of Christmas.Why couldn’t it be Christmas everyday. It is! Because of the true meaning of Christmas, every day is Christmas. Every day He is with us, in us and around us. Merry Christmas!