They would call Him Immanuel…God with us. This was much more than an appearance, this was an arrival! This was not an appearance in a burning bush. This was not an appearance of a “pillar of fire” in the night sky, nor a cloud by day. He was arriving to live at our location, on our terrain, and in our flesh; the heart of God with skin on. How amazing is that? God was not watching “from a distance,” and contrary to what some thought, He was not beyond or removed from their existence. In fact, He was coming into the middle of their lives…right with them.
This Jesus would walk in regular sandals on dusty roads. He would sit filled with fatigue and thirst at a well, and still refresh a broken, defeated woman with “living” water. No chariots or majestic carriages would hoist and carry Him from place to place. In fact, at His highest earthly moment, he would ride in on a young donkey, not even an adorned majestic horse…not yet, not here, for He was with us. He had come to a much lower level to lift us to a much higher level.
All other world religions have focused on our getting to God. There seems to be no end to the foolish schemes, human philosophies, and spiritual fads that make great claims but produce no change. Immanuel changed millions forever and even the world calendar became centered on His coming.
Christianity was never and must never be only another religion. Christianity is the demonstration of relationship so desired that heaven would come to earth so that we might “know” Him and His Son. He would be emptied so we could be filled. He would be humbled so we could be lifted. He would bleed in order to stop our bleeding; He would die so we could live; and He would be raised so we could be….like Him. Do you have that? Do you “know” Him?
“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 1:23 (NKJV)
Your father's heart
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11 (NASB)
I cannot imagine how spectacular the scene was that dark night long ago. There is something about being in a field on a clear night that makes every star shine brighter. Even the glimmer of a light far away can be seen. Darkness always makes light appear brighter. Noticeable too is the contrast between standing in the middle of the neon lights of a busy city looking at the sky, and that same sky from the stillness of the country. Visualize if you will the spectacular and even frightful event of an angel suddenly breaking through the night, and then a whole host of angels before your very eyes…why, one could talk about that kind of experience forever. Yet, there is something far, far greater in the narrative in Luke 2 above. It is themessage itself.
How easy it is to be caught up in the spectacular surroundings apart from the message. The person of the “messenger,” the style of the message, the surroundings or atmosphere of the message, and even my own experience can all too often override the message itself. There are four (4) words in Luke 2:11 that are the heart, the excitement, and the content of the message that night when angel and shepherds came face to face. Those words “unto you,” and “a Savior” make the message life changing for those who hear and respond. Many teachers, philosophers, religious experts, and prophets had come and gone. Our need was greater. What I needed….what you needed was a Savior (deliverer). I got one that night…so did you. He was our Savior and He was born unto us and for us so that He could be born in us. That is a priceless Christmas present.
1. What activities surround me in these times that seem to distract me from the real message?
2. What activities Jesus might you desire that will keep me from distractions?
Dear Lord, would you keep me focused not only on the marvel of your speaking, but on the content of your message to me? In your precious Name, amen. From your father's heart
I have a desire to be the physical demonstration of the person of Jesus through all the ordinary activity of my life, and on this site through my "devotionals." My deep desire is to have intimacy with Jesus and the heart of my heavenly Father beating in my heart and impacting my wife and family, and then whoever and wherever God places me.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8