Devotional

“for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.  Everything was created through him and for him.” – Colossians 1:16. 

Wondering about the wonder of God is always worthwhile. But the wonder of wonders is God with us. Jesus is the one who is God with us.

The story of God with us begins with the birth of Jesus Christ. God becomes human to walk among us, and teach us, and love us in radical and liberating ways. The beauty of God with us is that God didn’t come to us in the form of a Hercules type Demi-God, almost human, but stronger, faster, richer, and better in every way. No Emmanuel came to dwell among us, as one of us. God with us came to be in the midst of two ordinary people. God with us came to be in human form through Mary and Joseph. There wasn’t anything special that Mary and Joseph had done, just as there’s nothing we can do, to make ourselves more worthy of God with us. God is with us in spite of our imperfections and our struggles and our sin. Still, God with us remains with us and dwells in us.

Though He was born thousands of years ago, He is still Emmanuel, God with us, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In his book, Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer writes that “we need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”

That time thousands of years ago in Bethlehem is still happening now right here in our midst. We still celebrate with awe the wonder of God with us both as it manifests within us now and in all the ways it has shown up throughout history. This is certainly “good news that will bring great joy to all people,” as the angels proclaimed among the shepherds on that night in Bethlehem and still resonates today. 

God is constantly offering us wonderful glimpses of His presence with us in our world. Yet, too often, we don’t notice because we’re so preoccupied with the details of our lives that we don’t look beyond them to what God is showing us. If your focus has shrunk down to just trying to get through each day, it’s time to enlarge your perspective so you can enjoy an abundant life. 

There is much we cannot understand about our world. We cannot fathom why the innocent suffer, why evil has such opportunity, why God does not make things better right now. But, we do know something that keeps us going, something that strengthens us in the midst of sorrow and confusion. We know that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. In our pain and puzzlement, God is with us. In our sadness and yearning, God is with us. In our doubt and fear, God is with us. Through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit, God is with us. And not just with us, but for us, beside us, before us, behind us, within us, and among us. So we are comforted, even as we pray, “O Come, O come, Emmanuel.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you personally appreciate the most about the fact that God came to earth to be in relationship with us? 
  2. How does the reality of Emmanuel – God with us, impact your daily walk of faith? In the good times? In the bad times?