Emmanuel – God With Us!
“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture… None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable— absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:35-39
Christmas is almost here. With it brings the reminder of God’s wonderful presence in our life. Each week as we waited and prepared during Advent, we have sung the song Emmanuel. Emmanuel is one of the names ascribed to Jesus and it means “God with us.” During our celebrations of Christmas – whether we are experiencing wonderful joys or painful darkness – I find it helpful to remember that God is with us. Since God is here, nothing can separate us from the love and peace that are permanently attached to God. Even if our lives do not reflect God very much, God is still here. God is present and God is waiting – waiting for us to receive the wonderful gifts of change and transformation that God wants to bring into our lives.
God was so determined to be with us that God took the difficult route, so that nothing could go wrong. The Christmas story seems like it is filled with “wrong things.”
- A long journey across a dessert at the whim of a foreign emperor
- No room in the inn
- Shepherds being the first witness
- Foreigners seeing and recognizing the promise of God before Israel’s leaders do
- Frantic journeys of escaping death etc…
There is a lot that seems like it is not going well. Often our lives can reflect this. But there is one unmistakable truth to the Christmas story. God was present! Even as things were falling apart for Mary and Joseph, God was with them – changing the story from a tragedy to a blessing. The same way that God transforms our lives from tragedies to blessings – by being with us! May we all encounter the depth of God’s presence in our lives. May God bring blessings out of our messed-up lives.