God’s gift of “God with us”
The reason for this holiday season revolves around the reality that God put into motion some incredible events, beginning with what we have come to know as Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, the Christ, is also known as our Immanuel – meaning “God is with us”. He was foretold by the prophet Isaiah and also in the New Testament (see Matthew 1:23).
Isaiah 7:14 (NLT) All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
With the birth of Jesus, God is with us, as Jesus lived and walked among us.
Luke 1:30-32 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
Jesus is also Yeshua (Hebrew) which means “Yahweh is Salvation”. So through the birth of Jesus, we also get God with us, bringing salvation. The birth event is worthy of a celebration, but there is still more.
More than a birthday party
Christians recognize Jesus as the reason for the season because we are celebrating his birth. However, thinking in terms of birthday party alone, only scratches the surface. The deeper reason, I believe, is more about why that birth event occurred in the first place…Love.
Love is the reason
Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but Jesus reveals the deep unstoppable love God has for us. Making it more personal, at the very heart of this Christmas season is God’s great love for you and his desire to bring you back into direct relationship with him.
John 3:16 (NLT) “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
God still wants to be with you
The statement, “God wants to be with you,” should be enough to blow your mind. Some are under the impression that God is this far away “man upstairs” who just stays up there somewhere, and has no interaction with us. I think we have established that such an idea is far from who God really is and what he really wants. His desire is for relationship.
John 1:1, 14 (NLT) – In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God…So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
God really does want to be with you – so much so that he (as Jesus, God the Son) who always existed, allowed himself:
- to be born into the world to live among us;
- to die on the cross for us as the ultimate once-and-for-always sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins;
- to then resurrect himself on the third day as he had said;
- to be the way for you to directly connect with God, through faith in Jesus Christ;
- to return to heaven and send the Holy Spirit, so that God could be with you always
All this was done just so that you, through faith in Jesus, could be set free from the bondage of sin, the weight of a fallen world. Jesus did it all so that you could be called a son or daughter of God – an heir with all the rights to the inheritance God has provided.
Galatians 4:7 (NLT) Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
As you celebrate this Christmas, remember the birth of Christ, and also reflect on the great love God has for you to put such an incredible plan in motion on one “O Holy Night”.
Question: What special tradition does your family have for celebrating during the Christmas season?