Thankfulness: With

This morning I woke up feeling profoundly thankful that God is with us. I’m in awe of this! He could’ve decided to be with the angels exclusively, up in heaven in a recliner watching what we’re doing from afar. He would’ve been fully within his rights to demonstrate his love toward fish or trees or bears or bugs or anything else in the universe! But instead, he set his affections upon us, so much so that he sent his son to earth so that our relationship with him could be restored. Wow!

Stores are now decorating for Christmas, preparing the way for the busiest shopping season. That’s great that they’re getting festive so early, but presents and toys and snow aren’t the point of the season: Christ is.

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

God isn’t aloof. He’s not standoffish. He’s not prideful or arrogant. He’s not conceited or self-absorbed. God was willing to condescend to be with us. If you look at the life of Jesus, you’ll see that he got down in the muck with people and met them where they were at. If they were humble and contrite, if they knew that they needed a savior, he shared his time with them. That same God who is written about in the Bible, is still with us today. The Holy Spirit is with us, leading and guiding us through life. Whatever you’re feeling, going through, or faced with, he is with you.

The beautiful thing about this is that other people are with you too. You don’t have to go through things (good or bad) alone. Find that group of people who are with you, heart and soul. I hope and pray that you find those people in your life and celebrate them.

Lord, you are with us and made a way for us to be with you! This is absolutely incredible! Forgive us for the times when we’ve strayed from you to the allure of being with someone or something else and thank you for welcoming us back when we return. Thank you for never leaving us though we’re prone and tempted to leave you. We choose today to remain with you, in the face of temptations. Continue to woo us to yourself. We love you! Amen.

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