Immanuel – GOD WITH US!!!

When our kids were little, Merrily and I spent more than one Sunday in a Sunday school class or the nursery.  It seems that our offspring gathered something from our presence.  I admit, to some degree I liked it.  I liked seeing to courage and confidence our kids drew from us being with them.

Now as we watch our kids grow, we have seen them take steps of faith and trust that are impressive, they no longer need us to be in the same room.  This does not mean we are not needed, it means we did our job and we do not have to be “With Them” to be “With Them.” The courage and confidence they drew from our presence is now a part of their lives.

I married a person whose presence in my life has made it better in EVERY way.  I draw strength and courage from her every day of my life.  I have a friend who makes me feel invincible.  Not literally in the “can’t lose or die” sense but in a ministry sense.  When we are together, it seems there is no end to what we believe God can and will do.  In my life, when some people are near, strength, courage, confidence, heart, creativity and fun all rise.  This is actually how God made me, well all of us, He hardwired it right into our DNA.

Let me go one step further, we do not like being with people who do not get this.  We label them unteachable, arrogant, cocky, self-centered and their presence drains us.  But the people whom we draw strength from and with whom we share strength, WOW!  We love hanging out with them, talking with them, sharing in the successes of life with them and even picking up the pieces of “life not gone so well moments.”  Why?  It is how God made us!

When we read in the Christmas story that the angel said to Joseph, “he will be called Immanuel, which means God with us…” It would seem to me that this is more than just a cool name we would shorten to Manny.  Immanuel – GOD WITH US is a name that is supposed to settle into the way we relate with Christ moment by moment.

God with us. In our pain.  In our fear.  In our discouragement. In our weakness. In our worry.  In our nervousness.  In our joy.  In our triumph.  In our tears.  In our laughter.  In our smiles.  In our good decisions.  In our bad decisions.  In our routines.  In our lack of discipline.  In our dreams.  In our careers.  In our change of careers.  GOD WITH US.  Soak that in for a little bit, it is quite the Christmas message.  Immanuel.

If one did a search for this theme that runs literally from Genesis to Revelation one would find that God started the “with us” portion of the journey by walking in the cool of the evening with Adam and Eve.  He will culminate this side of eternity by opening the next with this phrase. “and now the dwelling of God is with men, he will be their God and they will be his people”.  In between, there is the repeated theme of “God with us…” To underscore this theme, Jesus’ last words were… “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  The bible is literally a chronicle of “Immanuel – GOD WITH US.”

God with me is what literally carries me every day.  I read in Colossians 1 this phrase…God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. I hope in this, and just like my kids found confidence in my presence, I find my confidence in His.  Off… we go now. (but not alone)

~ by OFF we go now on December 21, 2010.

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