God With Us

     Years ago I saw a commercial for a pair of glasses for the color blind.  The glasses allow them to see color for the first time.  It moves grown men to tears to see the world they have been missing.  One older man was so excited he started clapping like a small child.  Imagine life without color.  Something is missing.  Can you live without color?  Yes, but it’s incredibly sad to be in a black and white world.  To see color is revolutionary.  Life is never the same again.  Even more profound than seeing color is the entrance of Jesus into the world.  He affects us, He transforms us.  Revolution is too small a word to describe what He does to a life if given the chance.
      At Christmas time I review the various names of Jesus Christ.  Author Warren Wiersbe says that “every name He bears is a blessing He shares.” One of my favorite names of Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”  I find that name transformative. 
       First, I find it surprising, even shocking, that He wants to be with us.  We are rebels, broken, twisted and defiant.  Yet despite knowing all about our shadow side He still loves us and wants to be with us.  Not everybody does, but God likes you. He longs to be with us.  He wants to claim us as His children.  He even pursues us.  Jesus tells a parable of a shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go find the lost one.  Illogical, even seems foolish unless of course you are the one.   I am forever grateful that God the Son left the beauty, majesty and glory of heaven to come find me.  I am that valuable, you are that valuable!  In the marketplace, value is determined by the price someone is willing to pay.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, His life on a cross.  Honestly at times I feel like a dollar store toy with a Nordstrom’s price tag.  But Jesus paid it anyway.  If you really get it, it’s overwhelming.
       Second, understanding that God is with us enables you to face life courageously.  If God is with us and for us nothing should frighten us.  David could face down and defeat Goliath because the giant next to him (God) was greater than the giant in front of him.  What are you facing in your life?  Financial debt, cancer, a marriage hanging by a thread, a rebellious child; nothing is too much for Him.  We do not have to use substances or mind-numbing distractions to cope with life’s challenges; we can face them head on.   Like the Peanuts character Linus finally dropping his security blanket we can move through life courageously.  We will face adversity, but since God is with us we know He can use it to advance His kingdom.  This name for Jesus gives us a new pair of glasses through which to look at life.  Leave behind the dull, dark life of merely black and white.  Our Emmanuel lens makes the world pop with potential and power.       
      Make this Christmas more than a holiday, make it a holy day.  Make it more than a day of presents, celebrate the presence of Emmanuel—God with us.  Merry Christmas!

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church