My advent mediations are inspired by my recent study of 2 Corinthians which ended with a beautiful benediction—the only one that mentions all three persons of the Trinity: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV). First, I looked at grace, then love, and fellowship. Today we focus on God with us.
Where do we see God WITH US in the Christmas story? In ancient Greek, this is “emmanouel” which means “God with us.” How is God with us today?
To Mary of Nazareth, the angel said, “The Lord is with you” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV).
To Joseph, her fiancé, the angel quoted Isaiah’s prophecy:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14 NIV
This is the Incarnation—God in human flesh.
- The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)
- For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9 NIV)
Immanuel came to be with us so we could talk to him, watch him live life, learn from him, listen to him, imitate him—ultimately, to know him and become part of his family.
Before Jesus returned to heaven, he said, “[The Father] will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16 NIV) and “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
He is still with us today. While we bake cookies, change diapers, get the test results, search for a job, have hard conversations, celebrate a birthday, make ends meet, and exchange gifts. With us in the thrilling joys as well as the deep pain of this season.
If he is to be Immanuel God-with-us, he must be with us where the pain is.N. T. Wright
Because of Christmas, we can know Immanuel, God WITH US.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in [fellowship NET] with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:18 NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)
In what circumstance do you need to remember that Immanuel is with you?
Immanuel, thank you for coming in flesh to be with us so that we might see you, know you, and become your family. Thank you that your Spirit stays with us continually. We are never alone and can have fellowship with you always. What an indescribably gift.
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