The Bible makes the mega claim that the baby Mary gave birth to, the baby Joseph named ‘Jesus’, is in fact Immanuel – ‘God with us’.
Why is that great?
Jesus is God with us.
It seems a fairly simple statement, but those words are as stuffed with meaning as I am after my Christmas dinner.
The author of the story steps into its pages. The Almighty becomes tiny. The creator becomes a creature. God wraps himself up in a baby human sized package – like the most majestic pig in a blanket ever! The great God of the universe comes close. God does the work. God does the moving. God does the stooping. It’s a mind-blowing concept.
Why would he bother?
He loves us.
God sees us. He knows what we need. He cares enough to step in. He doesn’t leave us to try and sort ourselves out on our own. He doesn’t expect us to get ourselves to where he is. He comes close, incredibly close. His arrival in vulnerable baby form says everything about how personal, holdable and relational he is. His arrival in an animal trough says everything about how much he understands real life and how far he is prepared to go to be with us. The Almighty God, totally powerful and completely perfect, wants to be intimately involved with weak and imperfect me. He welcomes me, baggage and all. He deals with my mess.
What does this change?
Jesus came as Saviour to rebuild the with-ness we were made for. Faith in Jesus brings us a new life, a new identity and a new future. We become part of a new ‘us’. We can call God ‘Father’ and have his Spirit living in us. Jesus brings us into the embrace we belong in, with him.
We also get to be part of a worldwide ‘us’. We belong to a family of believers from everywhere, called the church. We want to hold onto Jesus as Saviour together. We want to live with Jesus in charge, as God in our lives. We want more of Jesus. We want to be with him. We want to know him better and be closer to him. We want him with us so much that we can handle the cost to our time, effort, money and relationships. We get to depend on him, trust him, ask for his help, be certain that we are never alone, and one day live with him for ever. We are part of an ‘us’ who all know that God’s presence brings peace, joy and comfort to every day.
Jesus is God with us. This Christmas, that’s a truth worth considering, worth remembering, worth enjoying and worth celebrating.