Emmanuel, God with Us

[reprinted from December 2, 2010]

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.

And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

The prophet Isaiah lived over 700 years before Jesus was born. And yet here are the beautiful words that promise a Messiah, a Savior. Today I know that my Savior lives but I look with Hope for the time that He will come again to take me home with Him forever.

It is the profound and extravagant love that swirls within my heart as I look at the candles that flicker, smell the pine, and see the manger. There is a figure of a tiny baby that is the center of the scene. The donkey, the sheep, a mother, and a father standing in watch over this baby that will grow in wisdom and stature. I pray that the humility and awe that I am feeling as I write this will stay with me all through Advent and be just the beginning of a new level in my relationship with Jesus.

Jesus is the wise Counselor. He is the One and Only Mighty God who cares for His children with a love that is beyond words to describe. The Father will care for me forever. Our relationship has no end! And Jesus is the Prince who brings a peace that I cannot understand at times when it seems impossible. All this is the Trinity that I do not begin to have the words to explain but I know that it is True. It’s a gift that is 3 in 1.

Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”    Luke 1:30-33 (NLT)

Don’t be afraid. You are loved by God. That is still a message for me – for you – today. Yesterday I said that Jesus would stir up my life if I chose to follow Him. Here is Jesus coming near. He will, in fact, be carried for the 9 months it takes for His fully human form to mature for birth. But Mary can lay down her fears – all of them – and strap in for the journey that God has for her. It will not be like anything she has ever or will ever experience. But God, again gives His promises about who He is.

May I stay focused on who He is and who I am with Him in me. Advent is about preparation for Jesus’ birth. I can prepare my house with decorations and prepare gifts with beautiful paper and ribbons but it is my heart that needs my attention so that the place that Jesus lives inside of me is swept clean and is filled only with Him.

O Come O Come, Emmanuel sung by Sugarland

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel. (Veni Emmanuel, 15th century)

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