Christmas: God's Presence is Your Present
Did you know that Christmas is about God wanting to have a relationship with you?
You might have thought it was about presents, or peace on earth, good will to man … that sort of thing – and it is in a lesser way. But at the center of the Christmas message is a God of love who desires to be with you.
That's right. God wants to spend time with you.
That's why the Father sent Jesus to be born as a little baby. It set in motion this whole plan of love in Jesus' death and resurrection that would break through the barrier of sin and reunite mankind with a loving Heavenly Papa.
Hanging out with mankind was God's idea from the beginning. The Bible says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. The Father sent Jesus because he wanted to renew that kind of intimate fellowship with us.
During the Christmas season we often sing the classic hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," but have you ever thought about what this familiar song means?
The text is based on the biblical prophecy from Isaiah 7:14:
...the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (ESV).
The name Emmanuel literally means "God with us." God gave Jesus to mankind as the first Christmas present.
The Apostle Paul tells of the wonder of this idea several times in his letters.
…God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27, ESV)
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (2 Cor. 5:18, NLT)
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10, ESV)
Jesus Himself made it clear that relationship with God should be our highest priority in this life.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:7-8, NKJV)
It is God's will that we remain in fellowship with Him for all eternity. We see this in the beautiful hope-filled words of Apostle John in his revelation:
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. (Rev. 21:3, NLT)
This is the glorious news that we proclaim to the nations, that Jesus is Emmanuel. By His shed blood, He has ransomed captive Israel – and now He lives with us through the precious Holy Spirit.
So have a very merry Christmas knowing that God loves you and wants to be with you. May you know the presence of your Heavenly Father in a special way during this blessed season. And may you join with God's people in singing this glorious hymn, both now and forevermore:
"Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh Israel."