Emmanuel - God with Us
It seems everywhere we go at this time of year, Christmas carols are playing. To drive to appointments or to shop for groceries to the strains of "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" seems out of place. But on second thought, no, actually, it's quite appropriate.
As Christ-followers, we believe that God created and is sustaining everything in all creation. In the large decisions of life, and in the nitty-gritty of the daily routines, we understand "God with us". Matthew, in his Gospel, stresses the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament and begins and ends the book (see Matthew 28:20) with promises that God is with us. Emmanuel - One of the most comforting of all the names and titles of Jesus. God with us. Emmanuel indicates Jesus' role, bringing God's presence to man. God is gracious to His people by sending the Messiah. When our sins made it impossible for us to come to Him, God took the outrageous step of coming to us, of making Himself susceptible to sorrow, familiar with temptation, and vulnerable to sin and pain and the messiness of life, in order to cancel sin's claim. Take comfort. God is with us. (Source: blueletterbible.org, faithgateway.com)
C. Verbeek, Principal
Advent is about faith and waiting. What are you waiting on God for this year? Remember the years of silence as God's people waited for the Messiah. Take time today, right now, to reflect on the fact that God's timing is quite different from ours.
The story of Jesus' birth gives us assurance and joy because even though the waiting lingered for decades, God broke through at just the right time.
Most of us try to grow a forest in one day. Jesus, however, invites you to begin with a tiny seed. Watch it grow and wait for it to become all that you dreamed it would be.
Are you willing to plant faith and wait upon God? Nothing seems to be appearing on the horizon today, but just wait! God always keeps his promises, even to those who have little faith. Just wait.
E. Martin (From Lifeway Devotions for Advent)