God in the thick of us.

Happy Christmas Eve. I am juggling kids and Refuge this week with no time to write but always come back to the gift of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. It’s one of the deepest spiritual truths that continues to sustain me and was the one thing that I could always rely on during my crazy faith Unraveling.  This is a post I wrote for She Loves Magazine 3 years ago but I think I’d write the same thing today. Tonight we celebrate God with us, in the thick of all of us. That’s a beautiful and often-unexplainable and amazing gift. Love from Colorado.



Years ago I first came into contact with three prepositions that could change the way we viewed living out our faith–to, for, or with.  When it comes to kingdom living, prepositions do matter. Doing things “to” people or “for” people are two of the most familiar ways we intersect with others because they are the safest. We give to others, but never receive. We serve “those people.”

Living out “to” or “for” others keep us more comfortable, protected, with our power and vulnerability protected; they are very paternal or maternal and create oppression and codependence.

With is a completely different way of living where power is diffused and we see others as equals, as friends.

We receive as much or more than we give.

We are vulnerable.

We are human.

With relationships are incarnational and transformational, Jesus-in-the-flesh.

With relationships heal and restore dignity.

As we celebrate the eve of Jesus birth, God-in-the-flesh is on my mind. I love the wild way that God chose to enter the world–a human baby born to unlikely parents, in a dirty stall, in the midst of chaos and simplicity. God, born in a smelly stable to an unwed mother and her faithful fiance. Pagans strangly drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Shepherds, the lowest of the low, getting the news first. God, in the flesh.   Showing us the ways of love and how utterly contrary they are to the ways of the world, to the ways of “religion.”

One of my favorite old school cheesy-but-beautiful worship songs is:  Jesus, Name above all Names. Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord.  Emmanuel, God is with us.  Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

Even though it’s not a Christmas carol, every Christmas I start humming it because of my favorite line in the whole song–Emmanuel, God is with us.

Emmanuel, God is with us.

God is with us.

God, with us.

Here are some different words for “with”: accompanying, alongside, amidst, among, beside, by, for, including, near, plus, upon, as companion, side by side, in the thick of.

I love this imagery:

God accompanying us.

God alongside us.

God amidst us.

God among us.

God beside us.

God by us.

God for us.

God including us.

God near us.

God plus us.

God upon us.

God as companion to us.

God side by side us.

God in the thick of us (my personal favorite)

God is always with us. 

As God is with us in spirit, we are called to be in-the-flesh with others.

Accompanying others.

Alongside others.

Amidst others.

Beside others.

By others.

For others.

Including others.

Near others.

A companion to others.

Side by side others.

In the thick of others.

God, with us. In the thick of of our messy, beautiful lives.

Us, with others. In the thick of their messy, beautiful lives.

Yes, “With” is one of my favorite words.

I think it might be another word for Christmas.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life and online. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • That was one of my favorite old-school worship songs, for the same reason. Emmanuel, God is with us. What a beautiful, beautiful reminder.

  • Kathy, this was such a meaningful post for me. It was like God said – Hey, you girl, listen! Lots of huge things happened in my life in 2015 and as the end of the year approached I just wanted to curl up somewhere by myself and not have to be WITH anyone. I withdrew substantially from my community. Maybe it was needed for a season but I need others and they need me. Thanks for the post.

    • thanks for taking time to share….it is true, sometimes we need those seasons and that’s so okay. glad it stirred up some good stuff.. peace from colorado.


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