Matthew 1:22-23 “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means God With Us.”
I love my church family. I have grown up in my local church, and these past few years especially, I have felt that I have been growing deeper in my faith while learning from our Pastoral Staff. Our lead pastor, (Bob) delivered a powerful message this past Sunday leading up to Christmas that really impacted me, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
That’s a powerful phrase. It gives the idea that the Almighty Creator wants to be with us: flawed, sinful people. We as humans should have nothing to do with God, but in His grace, He sent Jesus, His Son, to be on earth with His creation, to live among us, to die for our sins, and three days later, rise again to seal the deal.
You hear Christmas songs this time of year with Immanuel and God With Us throughout them, but what does it really mean?
Well, think about this. If I went to Comic Con in San Diego, I would be with about 100,000 other people at one large event, but was I really with them? No. I didn’t travel all the way to California to be with 100,000 strangers; I went with my best friend (Watson, it’s gonna happen someday ;D) to be with her, and grow our relationship as friends as we brave the war zone that is
San Diego Comic Con. I also can’t send out a tweet saying, “Was with @TWHiddlston in Hall H today! #besties” without looking like an idiot, or my friends giving me flack about it. My tweet would have to be more like, “Saw @TWHiddlston dressed up as Loki in Hall H today! #fangirling”. I (sadly) don’t know Tom Hiddleston personally, so though I was in the same hypothetical room with him, I wasn’t really with him. (Now, if I had gotten a back stage pass to hang out with him and the cast of Thor, that would be a different story.) There is a difference between be with a huge crowd and being with a close friend. In a crowd, you’re just going through the motions, trying to get to the next booth and probably trying to have as little contact with them as possible. With a friend, you want to be talking and growing closer together through inside jokes, memories and heart to hearts. With a true friend, you put an effort into the relationship. If you don’t talk to your friend for weeks, you’re missing out on stuff in their lives which can cause you to drift apart.
This is the same concept with God. You can know in your head every verse forwards and backwards, word for word in Hebrew and Greek, but if you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, He isn’t really with you. There’s a huge difference between knowing about Jesus, and knowing Him as your Savior and constant companion. One is the way separation, the other is the path to salvation. If you are a Christian and have a relationship with Christ, you can still grow apart from Him by ignoring His word and not putting an effort into growing closer to Him. Jesus is like any other friend; if you stop talking to Him, the relationship is strained. God is always there, but it’s up to us to choose to be with Him.
I hope that is this Christmas Season is in full swing this week, you’ll stop to really look at your relationship, or lack there of, with God. It’s easy to get swept up into the motions of this season: presents, family, friends, decorations, baking, and traveling can take up a lot of our attention. These are all great and fun things, but our attention really should be on the amazing event that happened in Bethlehem thousands of years ago. I’m guilty of it! I’ve been stressing out about getting commissions finished up, while working on gifts for my friends and family, and just wanting to ignore everything else. I’m thankful for Pastor Bob’s message yesterday that gave me a big wake up call, and that God is gracious and forgives me when I lose sight of His amazing love. All it takes is believing that Jesus came down, died for all of your sins, and that He rose again to accept His wonderful gift. It’s the Greatest Christmas Gift you could ever get; better than all the toys in the world or Badge for Life to get into Comic Con 😉
Three days and counting till the big day! Spend this time with the ones you love, and remember the Greatest Gift that was offered to you on that night so many years ago.
Until Next Time,