I love the Christmas season and all that goes with it: the decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, entertaining and the list goes on and on. Whether it feels like it or not, it is all in preparation of celebrating Jesus’ birth. While you may share my sentiments on the season, for many it is a time when their loneliness, brokenness or poverty seem to be highlighted with painful twinges and stabs. So how does one merge the two worlds of celebration and mourning when there seems to be no room in either world for the other?
This Christmas season I have had a new awe and awareness of “Immanuel”. Matthew 1:23 tells us that He is “God with us”. While I have known the meaning of Immanuel, my heart has just received it this year as if it was fresh revelation. Ann Voskamp says, “The miracle of Christmas is that you get more than proof of God’s existence. You get the experience of God’s presence.”
Have you sensed God’s presence in and around you lately? The question isn’t whether He is present and active in our lives, but how much we are observing. If you step back from the craziness of the season and look, you will find the fingerprints of Immanuel, who is God with YOU. Those fingerprints – be they unexpected provision, the support of a friend, the right word at the right time – are the evidence that God is with you.
…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)
Perhaps your prayers weren’t answered the way you hoped this year, but don’t let that cause you to miss God’s greatest provision for you…Himself. He came into this world vulnerable, as a naked baby so that we could come to Him vulnerable: heartbroken, guilty and needy.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
So as Christmas day is quickly approaching, let’s be inspired to look past the hustle and bustle, to look beyond our disheartening circumstances and find Jesus in the manger of our hearts beckoning us to come and adore Him. I pray that you will experience a new awareness of His presence in your life; whether it is in the midst of your bustling preparations and celebrations or in the quietness and loneliness of your reality. God is with you because Jesus was born into our world…into your world.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23)