Immanuel- God with us. It's a phrase that keeps catching me this season. After giving thanks for all of God's provisions at Thanksgiving, the landslide of Christmas preparations almost drowned me. My mind churned with the preparing of wishlists for loving friends and family, and the house was waiting to be transformed from hearth to gutters with lights and garland.
The planner in me wanted to map everything out with lists- lists of what to buy, what to make, what to bake, what to read. As I headed to the store to begin crossing some things off a list, the weight of all the material things around me crushed me, and my spirit was heavy instead of joyful and light. The noise was great around me and in my head. I asked, “What does it mean to worship you, God, at this special season? How can I find you in this rush? What can I give to you as I give to others in this mess?”
And that's when those words caught me again, Immanuel- God with us. Jesus didn't come in the hush of a small home with a perfect family gathered around a crib complete with lovingly hand knitted blankets. He didn't come surrounded by the holy songs at the majestic temple while prayers rose to heaven. No. He came in the bustle of Bethlehem where there was no room because the world had been turned upside down by Ceaser Agustus and his call for a census. He came in a stable with nothing more to wrap him in than strips of cloth and nothing more to hold him than his mother's arms and a manger filled with hay. He came and he was with us in the noise and the mess and the world. And He is still Immanuel- God with us.
The days have passed. Many things on the lists are being crossed off. But frequently, I'm taking time to breathe and speak with Immanuel-God with us. It's the phrase that catches me and carries me. It catches me from the things that are easily tarnished and passing and carries me to the feet of Jesus, the King, who by His grace transforms my heart and the efforts of my hands and makes them worthy to worship Him.
Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each d ay he carries us in his arms. Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death. Psalm 68:19-20. May you also be blessed this Christmas season and throughout the year knowing that Immanuel is with you, carries you, and saves you.