Advent Reading Day 11 – The cost of God With US

“‘She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’  All this took place to fulfill what The Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Matt 1:21-23

Immanuel.  God with us.  I love the sound of those words coming off of my tongue.  Jesus coming in the flesh and making His home among us is what sets Christianity apart and makes following Jesus so full of hope.  The idea that God stooped down and became one of us…making His home with us, taking on our limitations, and being present to us.  It is the expression of the ultimate love and sacrifice for Him to have taken on the human limitations of becoming an infant.  He became one of us to be with us.

It is awesome to me to think that this has been God’s desire for each of us since the very beginning that we share our lives with Him and that He shares Himself with us.   He is not the God way out there.  He also is not merely the One who walked the earth.  Rather, He is the God who is so personal and so bent on relationship that He is With Us, making His presence known and drawing us into deeper communion with Him.

Being present to someone is so important to truly have relationship with them.  To practice incarnation meant that Jesus would not only take on flesh, but that He also would live among humans.   Jesus’ humility not only meant that he took on human form, but it also meant that he entered into the brokenness of others’ relationships, their needs, their half-baked ideas, their impure motives, their barking dogs and their inability to keep their word.   Jesus entered into the fullness of humanity, not as some superhero who floated 3 inches above the ground but as a full human being who had to watch where he walked and deal with other’s body odor.  Its the only way that His full humanity could be translated into Him fully being God with us, was for Him to get right in the mix and fully experience humanity for better and for worse.

I’ve been thinking about the power of presence and incarnation a lot lately.  There is something powerful in being able to be Present to people.  When we are present to people we are bringing Jesus who is present to us to people and awaiting an encounter to occur.  At a distance it is hard to have happen.  We’ve tried for awhile to make the 1 ½ trek from our old home to here in Kore and there is no way we could be present to people.  We swooped in and hovered 3 inches above the ground for a couple of hours and then back to our home away from Kore.   But, now that we’ve moved here I pray that we become present to people.  As we enter into more of what life is like here without water for long periods of time, with the smoke cloud from the landfill drifting into our house, with the continual bumping into people in the area, I pray that we enter more into being present to people.   We still live a life different from many here in Kore, simply because of the scale of their poverty, but I pray that there is something to being in the neighborhood.  Immanuel is already in the neighborhood and has been at work here.   He has been making His Presence known for a long time.   He is with Kore and is the hope for Kore.  I pray that we get to enter into making His presence known here by practicing our own bit of incarnational living, and I believe along the way we also will enter into a fresher understanding of what it means that He is present among the poor.

Immanuel.  God with us.  It is good news.  Do you know His Presence with you today?   Take a couple of minutes to simply sit and ask Him to make His Presence known to you.  Invite Jesus to show up as Immanuel into whatever your day holds.

As you know His Presence with you, consider those who live is in your neighborhood?  Who has God already put you in close proximity to?  How can you be present to those people this Advent season and in turn make His Presence known to them?

Prayer:  Jesus.  Your sacrifice in becoming human was so immense when I consider not only the physical limitations that you took on, but also the brokenness of day to day living in our world that you entered into.   Thank you for coming to us and making your home among us 2,000 years ago but still making your Presence known to us today.  Help me to know you as Immanuel, God with me today as I go about the messiness of my day.   I thank you that you go with me, present to me and to all of those whom I come in contact with, simply help me to notice you with me and partner with You along the way. Amen.

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