One of my favorite names of God is Immanuel. This time of year it is repeated again and again in the songs we sing, the sermons we hear and the devotions we read. It's a familiar phrase - Immanuel - "God with us". It is so familiar that I tend to take it for granted...God with us.
In my day to day hectic and fast paced living
I tend to go about my business
as if God is nowhere nearby at all!
I wrongly act as if I am on my own in this daily tension of living between the here and not yet. If you asked me, I would give you the correct theological response; of course, God is with us. He lives in you and in me if we have been rescued by our Redeemer. And yet, how does that translate to my right here and right now?
It's hard to know he is here with us. At times God seems hard to find, hard to hear, and we end up going it alone as a result.
As I walked by my Christmas tree I spied this ornament hanging among the evergreen branches - Emmanuel. It's barely noticeable tucked in close to the tree trunk. It's difficult to see and it wouldn't catch your attention as you walked by. I was actually looking for something else on our tree when I noticed it - pure white with red letters...Emmanuel. God with us. I [God] am with you.
So many times this is my story. I don't see God in my everyday walking around life. I go about my day and in those moments when I'm not looking for him, he shows up. It's not as if he is just popping in and out of my life. He has been there the whole time. God is teaching me more and more to trust him when I can't trace him. To lean wholly on the arms of Jesus knowing they will be there to catch me...even if I can't see them. Isn't that what faith is? Believing what you cannot see?
Don't despair if you feel far from God. Don't wring your hands or feel guilty or stressed out about it. The truth you can hang on to is the promise God gave you in the birth of his son Jesus. Immanuel. God is with us!
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive
and bear a son,
and they shall call his name