Sunday, December 13, 2009

Immanuel, full-circle

The Advent season is the celebration of God With Us. The angels who proclaimed Jesus’ birth were evangelists who carried the “good message” that because of Immanuel, all is well. They spoke peace on earth between God and mankind, a sabbath-rest from our own useless works of salvation, and God’s favor and good will, the gift of His perfect, unending love with the only power to save us from sin.

The prophecies and covenants God had made with believers were fulfilled, or filled up and running over, by Jesus. Immanuel, God-With-Us, dwelt with our parents in the Garden of Eden. He walked with Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and certainly with many others not recorded. He proclaimed Himself “I AM” to Moses, and said that He would go with Moses and His covenant people. The Lord appeared to them as a pillar of fire and cloud. His Presence filled the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle and Temple.

When the Jews languished in exile, God said, I'll make a covenant of peace with them that will hold everything together, an everlasting covenant. I'll make them secure and place my holy place of worship at the center of their lives forever. I'll live right there with them. I'll be their God! They'll be my people! Ezekiel 37:24 MSG.

When God came to experience humanity as one of us, an angel said, “… You, Joseph, will name him Jesus—'God saves'—because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us"). Matthew 1:20-23 MSG.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV.

During His ministry, Jesus said, “I AM the Door,” “I AM the Bread of Life,” and other “I AM” statements recorded in the Gospel of John. Jesus was here among us.

At His ascension, when the Messiah gave the Great Commission to His followers, He said, "I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18 MSG.

And when the perfect love relationship and world God intended from the foundation of the world is realized, the Lord says of that fulfillment of our salvation, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3 NIV.

Whether or not you believe in a “Christmas” celebration (some people consider it pagan custom to be avoided), you must believe in Immanuel’s advent. Although it’s difficult to conceive from our finite human vantage, God has been with us before the foundation of the world, in eternity past. He is with us now. And He will be with us for eternity future. We are celebrating Christ’s advent every day that we’re new-born in Him.

That’s joyful, peace-filled news. That’s good news. That’s evangelism.

1 comment:

  1. As for me, I recognize God's presence in every moment of my life. Even in my most reckless times when God's presence was not in my immediate thoughts, He was there to protect me and waiting to hear me call when I was ready for Him. I give credit to God for my every blessing.
    Christy, have a blessed Christmas season and year to come.


Courteous, constructive comments are welcome. All comments are moderated.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...