It’s true, I tell you, it’s true. Grant me this moment of ecstasy, this moment removed from the grief and the pain and the loss that seems to overshadow this season of hope. God is with us; I’ve witnessed it sprawled on the floor after our multiple miscarriages, in the NICU after Elvis was born, by the bedside of my dying grandfather, the peace that passes all understanding, the quiet that descends on the spirit in crisis that assures us it will be okay, yes, one way or the other, even if it is not okay right now, unfair, unjust, tragic, terrible: one day, it will be okay.
Immanuel: God with us. Is there any better preposition than “with,” any better promise than when God says, “I will be with you?”
Can we celebrate today that Immanuel, God with us, is with us, within us, and around us, in the body of believers, in the great cloud of witnesses, always, until the very end of the age? Can I get an amen to that? “Come, O Come, Immanuel,” we sing. Although we wait with anticipation for Christmas morning to resurrect that celebratory spirit, believers, he is already here! What are you waiting for?
Maybe we should sing, Come, O Come, bride of Christ, his walking and breathing and rejoicing disciples, come bearing his peace and his hope, come shining with the spirit of goodness and joy and righteousness and mercy and grace. God is with us, listen to the whispering voice of truth, inquire of the spirit of God that resides in your being, lean in when a friend speaks comfort and love. He will do as promised. He will guide you, lead you, quiet your spirit, carry you in his peace, restore your soul, heal your heart.
Come thou fount of many blessings, come, O come, Immanuel, Christ in us, church rise up and shout the hallelujah, glory to God, shine, light of the world, shine, and deliver the message of hope, not just this month in the form of trees and shoeboxes and canned goods but always, in all seasons, in every thing and in every manner and in every moment, deliver grace and mercy and love in the form of your time and your presence and your awareness, and Christ in you will be clear, obvious, a gleaming glittering dancing spectacle of lights on your front lawn all year round.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” – Matthew 1:22-25
Advent Activity: Take a Winter Walk
This event might have to be delayed. Today’s forecast is a frigid 23 degrees and I just don’t think we’re going to be able to bundle up enough to stay warm in that kind of cold. I’ll probably swap this with Thursday’s “package Christmas cookies.” That way, we can stop eating the Christmas cookies.