I love this season of the year. I love it all, even the stuff people complain about, like the noise and garish colors, and commercialism. I don’t like to see people overspending, and the sadness of many that reflects some deep brokenness that needs healing. But I love Christmas.
I love it most because of one essential element, and every year I look forward to it deeply: my family comes (when they can) and we are all together! There is nothing quite like it. The the best part of Christmas for me is just sitting, like a little king, watching the activity around me as my family plays, eats, laughs, and loves each other. It honestly thrills me. I am never more complete than when my wife, children, and grandchildren and all of their loved ones are around me.
Recently I whispered to Jesus, thinking about the coming Christmas season, and asked him, “Lord, why did you come?” I heard the quiet but emotive reply, “To be with you.” And, as I welled up in tears, that answer was like a burst of peace for my soul. It is also the testimony of the bible.
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” (Isa 7:14 NLT)
An idea repeated hundreds of years later to explain the coming of Jesus into the world.
“As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Mat 1:20-23)
He came to be with us! “So what?” some might say, “What’s so great about that?” Well he came to be with us, in order to rescue us from ourselves, and our bad decisions. What a difference it would have made if Eve had invited God to be with her as she spoke to Satan, to actually give her wisdom. Instead she turned away, and then she and Adam made a decision to live independently from God, which brought death in all its forms into the world. What a difference it would have made if Cain had asked God to be with him as he went to meet Able, or when Moses saw the abuse of his people in Egypt, or when Jacob contemplated stealing from his brother.
What if Jesus had been walking with you and communing with you the first time you were offered drugs, or when you were first invited into behaviour that has since destroyed your life? The promise of a saviour ‘with us’ is that when he is with us HE SAVES US!
In his great love for us, Jesus promised that not only would he be with us but also he would be in us.
“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you.” (John 14:17,18)
All that might keep Jesus from us has been removed through his suffering on the cross. Our sin has been covered and forgiven, our old life has been crucified, our wretched enemies have been disarmed, and their work destroyed.
We are accepted and, because of that, we can accept the loving presence of God into our lives. He comes to be a daily saviour to us, to be a King who enthroned in his glory, delighting in his children as we laugh, love, eat, and pray around him. It’s like Christmas every day!
Prayer: Lord remind me in my “lost” moments that you came to be with me, so I will be “found” again.
Declaration: God loves to be with me so much he made it possible for him to be in me!