Friday, December 21, 2007
Emmanuel ( God With Us)
Each year at Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child, when God took human form and moved in with us. The Hebrews called it Emmanuel, or God With Us.
I recently preached on that topic and realized that to the Israelites, God with us meant a lot, because they could remember through stories when God literally lived with them.
During the Exodus, God was with them as a pillar of fire and a cloud. When Moses went up on the mountain, they heard the voice of God shaking the ground. And when Solomon dedicated the Temple, the Glory of the Lord filled the Temple to the point that the priests could not perform their ceremonial priestly duties. That was God with them.
A carpenter's son, born in a manger and fleeing for his life from a king wasn't their idea of Emmanuel. But God, in his wisdom, sent Jesus to live with us, like us, and among us, so that he could give us victory over sin, death and Hades. It still amazes me to think that Jesus would give up the beauty of heaven to come to this mess. A perfect place for a very imperfect place. A place of beauty for a world filled with much ugliness. That is love my friends. True, selfless love.
And now that the Holy Spirit lives in us, not a building in Jerusalem, we are called to be the embodiment of Christ to the world around us. This Advent and Christmas I have been thinking a great deal about what that can mean for me personally, my family, and my church. I don't have answers, but I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you how you can be the incarnation of Christ to those around you. How can you bring Jesus to them, not in an arrogant, "I'll tell you how to do it" way, but a "I love you because you are you" way. More of a servant's heart, like Jesus, rather than that of a fixer.
That is the meaning of Christmas. Love came and set up camp in our neighborhood. I want to do the same and spread the Love that rescued the world.