Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel; shall come to thee, O Israel.
It’s a funny word, Emmanuel. It’s rarely used – almost solely at Christmas. It means God with us. You are not alone because God can never leave you alone. You are always in His love, His presence, His care.
For most of us, the Christmas season is the busiest time of the year. There are presents to buy, a home to decorate, cards to send, presents to purchase. This list is endless. Yet, Christmas is the time God invites us to open a present we could never purchase ourselves. He asks us to come to the manger to find Him.
The heart of Christmas isn’t the brightly decorated tree with the presents underneath it. No, it is the amazing gift of God who offered His Son to the world even when we didn’t deserve it. God saw our brokenness and sin. He didn’t turn away from it; instead He gave Himself to us.
Emmanuel, God with us. The word should resonate in our hearts no matter what the season. People will fail you, institutions will close their doors, plans will go awry. But God will never leave you. You will never be forsaken, rejected, abandoned, forgotten and alone. He gives Himself to you for all time. And He never stops whispering into your life: with you. With you. With you.
Through His coming on earth God made a wild, bold proclamation: I love you. Nothing you can do or failed to do can change the strength of My love for you. You are the child I created and whose name is etched in the palms of My hand. You are the one who I think about, the one I can’t stop singing love for. You are My child and I will suffer for you. I will carry you through all your pain until it is no more.
Christmas isn’t about the busyness of the season. It is about a love deeper than we know. God with us. That’s where the wildest joy is found!