“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
God with us.
They are words we hear often at this time of year. They are words I ended the first blog of this series with, in fact.
With familiarity, however, we can forget the wonder of the words.
No longer are we kept at arms length from God – held apart from Him by our sin – Jesus came to restore the relationship we lost when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden so that we may one day walk with Him again.
Brian Zahnd writes:
“The lost beauty of God’s good creation is what is recovered in the Incarnation.”
The man who is God – bringing us and God together in a way that not even the prophet Isaiah could have imagined.
There is so much to marvel at the Christmas story; a virgin conceiving, angels visiting shepherds, and yet none of these things is more marvellous than God showing us in the most magnificent way possible, that He is with us through everything life throws at us because He has walked through this life before us.
When I was just becoming unwell with depression in my early teens, the idea that Jesus experienced human pain and cried human tears brought me a comfort I couldn’t articulate. And I sang a Graham Kendrick song that year at the carol service which has stayed with me ever since.
“And now a door is standing open before you
Casting its light into the darkness around
Stop for a moment, step inside
Tonight could be your Bethlehem
And nothing will ever be the same again
This night could change everything
Nothing will ever be the same again
Since the night he came”
At the time, I admit I thought that it meant that my life would never be the same again because depression had moved into my mind, but the reality is far greater, and full of hope.
Nothing would ever be the same again – but because Jesus came to be God with us in all we face.
2 Corinthians 4 speaks of this promise that we can cling to when all else fails; and whatever your Christmas looks like this year, whatever you are facing, hope is waiting because Jesus came to walk with us and His power to be within us.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
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