Advent Week 2: God With Us
Advent means “coming”. Jesus Christ has come and he will come again. Advent season is about rejoicing in the reality that God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ so that we could be with him forever. It is a celebration of Jesus’ first coming in humility and it produces eager anticipation for his second coming in glory. This season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting. Follow along with us this Christmas season as we anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus together.
ADVENT: WEEK 2
GOD WITH US
Isaiah 7:14; 9:2,6–7; 40:1–5; 53
A chill in the air, leaves beginning their color-changing march, sunsets with a clear and sharp focus. These are some of the signs that say a change is coming. Waking up to an unexpected light dusting of overnight snow, driving through the neighborhood and seeing that first display of Christmas lights–more signs that say a change is coming. Signs give us hope, clarity and warning. They give us hope as they tell us what’s ahead. They give us clarity by pointing us in the right direction. They give us warning by describing what we may experience along the way.
Long ago, God gave us a sign. In Luke 2:10–12, we listen in on a conversation between a group of shepherds and an angel of the Lord, “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”
This sign brought clarity and hope. This sign was a baby with many names. His name would be Wonderful Counselor for the unfolding of his wise plan would cause the hearts of all humanity to stand in wonder. His name would be Mighty God for this baby would be God in the flesh. His name would be Everlasting Father and his genuine care and protection for his children would become evident. His name would be Prince of Peace for in his coming he would bring peace between God and man. This sign, this baby, pointed to mankind’s greatest hope; the hope of being with God forever. Perhaps the one name that encapsulates them all is Immanuel, God with us!
“God with us”! How powerful and comforting are these three words. They give hope, assurance and companionship. Have you ever considered the implications of that phrase, “God with us”? What does it mean to you? The very One who created all that ever was or will be, desired to take on our form and live with us. God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Immanuel—God with us. As our creator, he knew we needed him to save us from our sin and despair. What better way to bring us that comfort than simply being with us.
But choosing to be with us came at a very high price. To offer the ultimate hope and freedom from our sin, he had to bear the wrath of God, which rightfully should have been directed at us. He bore our punishment. He shouldered our sin. His stripes healed us. Because Jesus came, we have the comfort of knowing that we can be with God forever. Because Jesus came, we have the joy of knowing that we can have peace with God. Because Jesus came, we have the hope of knowing that all our sins can be forgiven. The glory of the Lord and the joy of the world has come to us in Jesus. This is what we celebrate and rejoice in this Christmas season.
What is our response to God’s desire to be with us? Sadly, and ashamedly, often we have little or no desire to be with him. Most of the time, we probably don’t even think about it. We have all gone astray and turned everyone to his own way. But God still has that desire that he could be with his creation. So I would like to ask, is God with you?
This Christmas, don’t turn away from the only true and lasting source of comfort, hope, peace and joy. God has graciously given us Immanuel, God with us.
How does that phrase, “God with us”, manifest in your life?
Does “God with us” prompt you to strive to know him better?
Ask yourself, if you are abiding in him. If you are, how can you practically live out that being with him? Consider three ways in which you can demonstrate that God is with you and you with him.