Finally we have arrived at our favorite time of the year as a family…Christmas time! We wait all year to get out those lights and decorations that mark the beginning of Christmas for us. We love the sights. We love the smells. We love the tastes. We love the sharing with family and friends. But most importantly, we love the reason for the season and His name is Jesus Christ.
I would like our meditation this month to lead us back, by faith, to Bethlehem, and in the company of the shepherd’s gaze upon the one wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger who was to be called Immanuel, God with us.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14.
Should we not bow low before this baby who was God incarnate? God became man to be with us in our nature. He walked where we walk. He was tempted like we are tempted. He knew the pain of hunger, thirst and loneliness. The One who knew no sin became sin for us. He desired so much to be with us so He could do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He took our condemnation. He took our punishment. He took our crown of thorns. He took our nine-inch nails. He took our cross. He took our grave. Being with us meant He was going to have to take what we deserved and He did it because of the joy set before Him…you and me. Immanuel is with you, right now, right where this finds you.
Lonely in your singleness…Jesus is with you!
Marriage problems…Jesus is with you!
Difficulties at the office…Jesus is with you!
Prodigal children…Jesus is with you!
Broken friendship…Jesus is with you!
Financial challenges…Jesus is with you!
Sickness and disease…Jesus is with you!
Experience has taught me that God will use difficulties in life as the means to reacquaint us with fresh realities of His grace. Perhaps you are remembering someone close to you who has passed through the valley of the shadow of death and this time of year brings back painful memories of great loss. It was Christmas day 1995 around 4:00 p.m., just as we were sitting down to dinner when we received the call from the Veteran’s Hospital in Miami that my father had taken his last breath. Kim and I had gone to see him that morning and in only a few short hours, he was gone into glory to be with Jesus.
The only thing that got us through was in knowing that Jesus was with us. Immanuel was with us in our pain. Immanuel was with us in our sorrow. Immanuel was with us while we were in our valley of the shadow and walked with us every step of the way. It is my prayer that this name of our Lord, Immanuel, God with us, would be a source of great comfort and joy to you this Christmas season, regardless of where this finds you. Remember, as Jesus is with you, you are with Him…in His victory over sin, death and the grave.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” He is with you now and will be with you forever more.
This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT … AMEN!
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