God is with us. This is not just a nice thought we have at Christmas, it is a way of life. Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us that, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; God will never forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Life throws us all kinds of curves and sometimes we get hit by them. Nonetheless, God is always right here with us, watching over us, but also sharing in our suffering. The good news we hear so vividly in the birth of the Christ child is summed up in that name "Emmanuel," God is with us.

God is there in your good times and the bad. God cares about you and your future. God cares about this community we call home.

We can be rest assured that no matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulty of our current situation, God wants the very best for us.

It is up to us then to take a hold of this offer of grace from a loving God and live it every day.

That's what faith is all about - living with God, trusting in the Word that we have in Jesus Christ.

I encourage all of you reading this to strengthen the relationship you have with God today. By the way, a good start would be to pray to God today and to fellowship with others in church this Sunday.

• Denny Lee Diezel is pastor for the United Methodist Churches of John Day and Prairie City.

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