Immanuel: God with Me

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.    Isaiah 7:14 (HCSB)

We are in the Advent season. Three weeks from Sunday will be Christmas Day when we, as Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is in this time that we are to prepare. It’s not about the number of cookies baked or presents wrapped. It is about the preparation of my heart, my spirit. How do I prepare my heart and spirit for the celebration?

Learn from Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary. Zechariah was priest in God’s Temple. He knew all the rituals necessary for the offerings. He knew a lot about God but did not know God. He doubted God’s messenger when he said that God would give him a son. He wanted some assurance. Where was his faith?

Elizabeth, his wife, may have also had her doubts. It is said that she remained in seclusion for the first five months of her pregnancy (Luke 1:24-25). Was she ashamed of her pregnancy or unsure she was actually pregnant? But she learned. By the time her cousin, Mary came to visit her, Elizabeth recognized that God Himself had entered her home and gave her young cousin some encouragement (Luke 1:45).

I often see the young Mary as naïve and her faith childlike. “Let it be done to me as you say,” she says (Luke 1:38). I have the sight of looking back from 2000 years in the future as I think that Mary could not have known the amount of pain and suffering that her Son, and she herself, would have to endure. And yet, she kept her eyes on Him as He kept His eyes on His mission in Jerusalem.

Focus on what this ‘Savior’ means to me. Where would I be without Jesus as my Savior? What was my life before I accepted that I needed a savior? Do I remember the confusion and a-loneness? Without Jesus, I surely would have died, in spirit if not in also in body. Jesus has encouraged me in the darkest of hours and shown me the truth of who I am.

It truly is a time of celebration. It is not difficult for me to imagine the mystery and wonder of that most holy night when Jesus was born. God has given me a glimpse as I gave birth to three children and now look at my grandchildren. And then to know that God Himself came to live here as an infant, fully human and yet still God, is a mystery, too. And He came – to save us all from our sins.

A Baby Changes Everything by Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols and sung by Faith Hill (2008) 

Jesus began His ministry to me in that stable. He came to show me how to live with little but with everything. He showed me how something tiny, like a newborn baby, can change everything in my life. He showed me that from what appears to be a tiny incident in my life, just saying “Yes”, I will become more than I can imagine in His Kingdom eyes. And as I continue to obediently do whatever little He might tell me to do, He will call me great in His Kingdom. In that Baby is Hope, Comfort, Joy, Peace, and Life. A Baby changes everything.

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