Note: I look forward to sharing more about the issue of Christian "rights" which I wrote on last time, but today I want to share something a little different. ("Rights" being those things/promises from God we can stand on in faith because God says that they are ours since we are His.)
Immanuel . . . Traditionally the day(s) right after Thanksgiving are when we take out our Christmas stuff. It is a time the girls, especially, look forward to—eagerly anticipating the movies and music and, when we are able to get it, the decorating of the tree. This year, however, a situation in the life of some friends caused us to put that off. We wanted to spend the bulk of those days helping them and our whole family participated. I felt like God shared with me a special way to talk to the girls about it, and I wanted to share it with you.
Friday morning I told the girls that we were going to begin celebrating Christmas that day (eyes wide, smiles big, excitement there, Christmas movies envisioned) . . . but, that it might not be the way they were thinking. I then asked them what one of the names of Jesus was, tied in to the Christmas story—a name that our family has used often to remind each other of God's presence. They answered "Immanuel" and, when asked what it meant, said "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
I then talked with them about how, while Jesus was here on earth, God was with us in bodily form through Him. But, then, something amazing happened—He died and ascended to Heaven, and His Spirit came to dwell in believers! From being in one body at one time, to being in every Christian at the same time!
Through my asking them questions and drawing them to realizations, we talked about how, when a lady in our fellowship is serving as a nurse, it is really Jesus who is loving the people through her. We saw how, when someone else in our fellowship is loving someone else at their work place, it is really Jesus loving them through them. And then, how we were going to have the privilege to allow Jesus to love our friends through us as we allow ourselves to be His hands and feet.
It was amazing how the girls got it—that Christmas hasn't ended when Jesus died, just expanded! That now God (while present, certainly, around us at all times) is tangibly with us, living through us, as His children. Immanuel has the potential to be true in and around every believer at all times and, so, that miraculous aspect of Christmas continues and expands as believers surrender their lives and allow Him to live His life and love and serve others through them!
So, Merry Christmas! Immanuel! God is with you, believer . . . and He seeks to be with others through you! What an amazing comfort and privilege that is to know!