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. - John 1:14, New Living Translation
One night many years ago, during a church service when we were lingering in a peaceful time of worship and prayer, a friend sat down next to me and said, “God gave me a word for you.”
I was wrestling with some difficult issues at the time, and my heart was feeling rather shaken and raw. I waited for some profound revelation that would unlock my life’s purpose and answer all my burning questions, but he looked at me and simply said, “Emmanuel.”
(Oh. He literally meant “a word.”)
Almost immediately though, that one word sank into the depths of my spirit, and I began to weep as the Holy Spirit powerfully and tenderly revealed truth to me.
Emmanuel. God with us.
So immense the heavens and earth cannot hold Him. The mountains melt like wax before Him. The vast oceans can be gathered in His hands. The endless stars are named by Him—each and every one. Holy and mysterious and beyond our full understanding. That God.
In our joy and in our sorrow. In our hope and in our despair. In confident faith and crippling doubt. Whether waking or sleeping, embracing or resisting, we cannot escape Him, can never be beyond His sight or His reach. He is with us.
Is there any other truth that is all at once so comforting and so overwhelming?
Over the next few weeks, we will be running a series exploring the significance of knowing a great God who draws near and what that means for us wherever we are right now. We will consider the miracle of light shining in the midst of darkness and the glory of God being revealed.
Perhaps there is no better time than the month of December--when we are already drawn towards the wonder of the Word becoming flesh. Your heart may be filled with joy, or your heart may be heavy with pain. Or like many of us, you may be navigating this holiday season with the tension of a heart carrying both hope and disappointment.
But whether you come expectantly, wearily, or even cynically, we invite you to linger in the truth and wonder of Emmanuel, allowing it to awaken your heart and change your life. God could have revealed His glory from afar in some massive, fearsome display, but instead, full of unfailing love and faithfulness, He chose to make His home among us. He is holding us in His hands, and He will not let go.
He is with us.