The truly good news is that God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains and participates in the fullness of the human struggle. . . . God is a compassionate God. This means, first of all, that God is a God who has chosen to be God-with-us. . . . As soon as we call God “God-with-us,” we enter into a new relationship of intimacy with him. By calling God Emmanuel, we recognize God’s commitment to live in solidarity with us, to share our joys and pains, to defend and protect us, and to suffer all of life with us. The God-with-us is a close God, a God whom we call our refuge, our stronghold, our wisdom, and even, more intimately, our helper, our shepherd, our love. We will never really know God as a compassionate God if we do not understand with our heart and mind that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).