Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”Matthew 1:18-23 NKJV
Do you think we’re missing it?
Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year!”
The cheery music.
The lights. The gifts
The tree. The decorations.
Isn’t it easy to miss?
The holidays can be hectic. Even dreaded.
The cheer accentuates your sadness, doesn’t it?
Slow down. Take a breather,
and rest from the “Christmas burnout.”
Find a reason.
The reason. For what?
The season, yes—and much more.
“God with us.”
What does that mean for us?
This season—merry, or lonely—
God is with you.
Among the long lists, the guilt:
God is with you.
Among the glittery lights, the carolers.
In the darkness of the night:
God is with you.
After the cheer, and the silence sets in.
The floors creak, and you watch shadows dance on your wall.
Over your heart.
Among the uncertainty of the coming year.
The wondering, “How will I make it?”
God is with you.
Do you realize the impact—the power—of those words?
Let them settle over your heart, dear child.
The great “I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
The One Who spoke the world, your heart, into existence.
The One Who saw each day, before it was.
With a breath, He crafted bones, joints, ligaments, DNA.
Trees, oceans, unsearchable galaxies.
Who set each star in place (Isaiah 40:26, Psalm 147:4).
The sun and moon.
Who created laughter, smiles, and tears.
(Chuckles and belly laughs. Laughs that make your stomach ache, and smiles that hurt your dimpled cheeks.
Tears: of sadness, anger, and joy.
Tears that He caught with His own nail-pierced hands: Psalm 56:8.
The One Who saw everything He made and called it, “good” (Genesis 1:31, 2:1-7, 18-23).
Who made a way through the sea (Exodus 14:1-9, 13-29, Psalm 136:10-26).
Brought down the walls of a fortified city (Joshua 6:1-20).
Rescued His enslaved people.
Multiplied them as the stars in the sky through an elderly couple (Genesis 15:1-8, 12-18, 17:1-8, 15-22, 18:1-19, 21:1-7).
Saved the hardest of hearts (the heart of a persecutor: Acts 9:1-22, 26-31).
took on flesh.
Set aside His glory for a frail tabernacle.
Bled, sweated, and bruised.
Wept, and grew in stature and wisdom (John 11:1-45, Luke 2:52).
Grew tired, hungry, and thirsty.
Was mocked, laughed at, and scorned—by His own brethren, out of His own city (Luke 4:16-30, 8:49-56, 16:14, John 7:1-32, 40-52, Mark 3:21-22).
By His own creation (Isaiah 53:1-7).
Eyes of compassion.
Hands of loving warmth, extended to the outcast.
The leper: How long had it been since someone had reached for him? What hand had ever touched him with such power and tenderness (Matthew 8:1-3)?
The prostitute, the adulterer: Eyes that looked on her with care. Not hatred, nor intent to use and cast aside.
Not this man (John 8:1-11). He called her “found.” He called her, “daughter” (Mark 5:24-34).
The blind man: Confused and lost. Spit and mud touch his eyes. His vision is blurry.
Are those trees? Or people?
His vision clears. His eyes open.
The first things he sees is God (Mark 8:22-25, John 9:1-21, 24-25, 28-38).
A man, but His eyes told stories of empires falling and rising.
Wisdom, and sorrow;
as if some unimaginable trek of death lay ahead.
A God—the hands that formed everything we see—
nailed to a cross by the very hands He made.
The ones He watched since they were in the womb.
Who laid aside robes of righteousness
for a tattered,
Who stepped down from His throne, to be lain in a manger.
To be lain in a tomb.
Greeted by the musty stench of hay and animals as He breathed His first breath (as a man).
Shaky breaths through bruised ribs as He breathed His last.
A God who set aside His crown of gold glory, for thorns digging in His temple.
Stained by His own blood.
Trickling down His forehead, through His beard.
Creator of man. Of iron and wood.
Hung on a cross to die.
Our God with us.
Three days of darkness and silence.
Both Heaven and Earth wept.
But this Immanuel?
He is God with us.
Not “God was with us.”
Not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:26-27, Romans 14:8).
rose (Luke 24:1-12, 36-53)!
Is risen! Now and for all eternity.
Ascended to the Father (John 20:17, Acts 1:6-11, Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:18-23, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2, Revelation 3:21).
Reclaimed His glory.
Took the deed of death and sin and called it “annulled” (Revelation 1:18, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, Colossians 2:13-15).
Offered those who killed Him a second, third, fourth chance.
Seventy. Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). A thousand,
Signed the adoption papers with His own blood (Galatians 4:3-7, 1 Peter 1:14, 17-21).
Sealed by the very Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13).
A heavenly inheritance that will never spoil or fade (1 Peter 1:3-9).
The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, to die for the world (Revelation 13:8, 1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:15).
A Lamb without spot or blemish.
The Child Who came (Matthew 1:18-25) and died (John 19:30).
The conquering King (Revelation 5:5).
The returning Lion (Revelation 22:7, 12-13, 17-20).
Coming quickly. Coming soon.
With a roar (Amos 1:1-2, Joel 3:16),
a sword (Revelation 19:1-2, 11-21),
and righteous fury.
Returning for His own.
His children (Hebrews 9:27-28, Titus 2:11-15, Jude 1:17-23, Matthew 25:31-40, John 14:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
A complete restoration (Revelation 21, 2 Peter 3:3-15).
God with us.
He is with us.
Is with us.
Died for us.
Rose for us.
Is coming back for us.
God in the flesh (John 1:1-18).
Not only God with “us.”
But God with you.
God with the sinner. The lost. The outcast.
The addict. The broken. The lonely. The suicidal.
This God is with you.
Will never leave you (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, John 14:15-20).
Is right here (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 139:1-18).
Do you know Him?
Because one day—
soon and very soon—
He will be GOD WITH US.
Dwelling among us.
Right in our midst.
Our eyes will behold Him (Job 19:26-27, Revelation 7:15-17, 22:1-4).
Our faith will be sight.
Our dwelling place, for all eternity (Deuteronomy 33:27).
This God with us.
This God with you.
Our precious, living, loving;
beautiful and humble
To our Immanuel be honor and glory for all eternity.
May we dwell with Him together.
Then I saw in the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the front and back and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a powerful angel proclaiming in a loud voice: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it. So I began weeping bitterly because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then he came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne, and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). They were singing a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals
because you were killed,
and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God
persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand – thousands times thousands – all of whom were singing in a loud voice:
“Worthy is the lamb who was killed
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature – in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them – singing:
“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!”
And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped.Revelation 5 NET