This year (2022) I’m sharing rerun posts on Fridays during December. This is one I found especially encouraging…especially in combination with the Wednesday post linked below. I also look back on what precipitated that very dark Christmas and am encouraged by God’s good work. It was a very sad year. But joy and life has come out of that very sad time. Immanuel was with with us as always.
Wednesday, I wrote more of a psalm to myself and GOD about my hard Christmas. I was in a very black hole. I was trying to think of all the truth I could. It was disjointed and sometimes random.
Today, I want to focus on one of the truths I talked about then. It keeps coming back to me and offering me comfort. It is the truth of Immanuel, GOD with us. If you need this comfort today, join me in reading this.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife,
for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
What does it mean that GOD is with us? It may mean more than one thing, but one thing it does mean is that He is with us in our humanity. That’s why He came in human flesh for 33 years here on earth. He knows what it feels like to be limited by the human condition. For those 33 years, he was not omnipresent. He was limited to being in one place at a time. He wasn’t able to walk through walls or do any of the superhuman activities He was once able to do. That must have felt horrible! But He voluntarily limited Himself because of the purpose for which He came: our redemption!
The contrast between the glories of heaven and life on earth must have been mind-blowing…and not in a good way.
Think of what it was like for him to rub up against the dirty, the disgusting, the smelly, the putrid, overt sinners, as well as those who were religious snobs. He ran into all of it! Interestingly, He seemed to find the religious snobs to be the most disgusting!Think of what it was like for him to rub up against the dirty, the disgusting, the smelly, the putrid, overt sinners and those who were religious snobs. He seemed to find the religious snobs to be the most disgusting! Click To Tweet
It was necessary for Him to go through the horror of the cross for us, to have lived a perfect life as a human. But on certain levels, it must have been especially difficult because He had the power to, for example, jump off the temple and save himself in dramatic ways. In fact, that was one of the temptations of Satan in the wilderness. But he resisted because it was not part of the Father’s plan.
Even now, He is with us in our hard times, no matter what they are. I often find myself not wanting my family to see the extreme sadness or depression I go through at times. I want to protect them. They are busy. They are carrying enough burdens of their own. They don’t need to see this…I rationalize in my head. There is some truth to it of course. Lies always have some truth to them. But it isn’t all the truth.
The truth is that Immanuel, GOD with us, is willing to enter into our lives, no matter how messy!
Whether it is the ugliness of grief or depression…a cold, dark and lonely place for sure! Or whether it is the ugliness of sin that we can’t or won’t shake, habits that we won’t do the work of getting rid of…He is with us there in that dark and ugly place too…along with every excuse and rationalization. He is also there to forgive and redeem. I know all that truth in my head. At any given moment, it doesn’t always work its way out in life.
Christmas is the time to remember Immanuel in new ways. How He enters these dark places to comfort, yes. But He does more. He deals with the problems that are there as well. He arrives in those dark, sad, lonely places to give hope and the presence of Jesus, the Son of GOD. He brings hope, redemption, change, and life when all seems hopeless and dead. All we can do is hang onto Him for dear life, even when we don’t know how all the details of our life will turn out.Christmas is the time to remember Immanuel in new ways. How He enters these dark places to comfort, yes. But He does more. He deals with the problems that are there as well. Click To Tweet
This is the time of year that we can sing along with the carol…but we can sing it any time of the year!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel.
(and we as the Church are the
new Israel so we are included.)
May the presence of Immanuel touch your hard and lonely places this Christmas!
This post was written during a very hard season. In fact it was written December 2019. By GOD’s grace, this is a happier season for us. But I’m writing to you today. It may be a harder year for you. May you be aware of Immanuel this Christmas season. Martha
O Come, Immanuel
1. O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
2. O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
3. O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
4. O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain
5. O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain
6. O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain
7. O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
And be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain.