Will God be present in your Christmas? God’s presence is a unique source of hope and strength of our faith. Jesus lived, ate, laughed, and even mourned with us in his life, and the Spirit is our indwelling presence now. Will you seek God’s presence this Christmas?
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Even before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah foretold that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son. He would be called Immanuel, which means God with us. Is God with you today? Is God present in your life? Is he invited into your life and your days and your purpose?
Will God be present in your celebration of Christmas this year?
The presence of God is one of the unique sources of hope and strength of the Christian faith. When Jesus came to earth, he lived among his people. He lived with us. He ate with us. He laughed with us. He mourned with us. Jesus experienced every fullness of life which we experienced, apart from committing sin. That’s the one area where Jesus never crossed the line we have crossed.
Jesus promised to be with us always, even to the end of this age. How could that happen, given that Jesus went back to heaven after his resurrection?
When he left this earth, Jesus promised that he would send back the comforter whom the Father promised. This is the Holy Spirit, who came to clothe Jesus’ followers with power after Jesus ascended to heaven. The Spirit is our indwelling presence of God to guide and counsel and comfort and convict. God continues to be present with us in our lives.
Immanuel: God with us.
The presence of God in our lives is an important truth of our faith, yet there is a wrinkle in this fabric. I have a Bible on the shelf in my den. God’s word is present in my home at all times. God’s word is only effective in my home if I open it and acknowledge it. I have vitamins in my kitchen cupboard. They are a source of many of the nutrients I need to stay healthy. The vitamins are present in my home at all times. They are only effective, however, if I ingest them.
In order to engage with Immanuel this Christmas, we need to seek him. God promises to be found by us when we seek him with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13). And God is always closer than we know – he is not far from us (Acts 17:27).
Perhaps this is the year you can seek God at church over Christmas. You could start your Christmas Day by reading the story of Jesus’ birth (which will be published here on the 25th for your convenience). Would you stop before you share family times over the dinner table to acknowledge and thank God for his presence with us and his gift of Jesus to save us?
Come let us adore Immanuel this Christmas…