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Immanuel, God With Us

Growing up Christmas Eve was magical. Santa always arrived while we were at 5 o'clock mass. How did he pull it off every year? My mom and dad were generous and spoiled my brother, four sisters, and me abundantly. It would take us hours to open gifts as she gave one gift out at a time so that we could all experience the joy our siblings would have when they opened their gifts. The room was loud and raucous. The mountain of gifts seemed endless. Ripped wrapping paper trailed across the floor. Zealous anticipation of the next gift to open hung heavy in the air. But had we stopped opening gifts to listen, we would have noticed love in the room and our joy would have been born from the reality that a savior came all those years ago.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;" which is, being interpreted, "God with us." Matthew 1:23

The magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence. The birth of Jesus signaled that God Himself came to earth in the flesh and body of an infant to be with us. Love came down to save us from ourselves and thus, paved a pathway to an eternity with God. But we don't have to wait for heaven.

"If we live a life of prayer, God is present everywhere." ~Oliver Holden

God’s omnipresence is His attribute of being everywhere at once. He is omnipresent even when we do not experience His presence; He is here, even if we do not recognize Him. God’s manifest presence is, the fact that He is with us is made clear and convincing.

The fact that God is omnipresent may or may not result in a special experience on our part. However, God’s manifest presence is the result of His interaction with us overtly and unmistakably. It is then we experience God.

The Bible records that each Person of the Trinity has made Himself manifestly present in the lives of certain individuals. God the Father spoke to Moses in the burning bush. God had been with Moses all along, but then, in “the far side of the wilderness” near Mt. Horeb, God chose to manifest Himself. God the Son made Himself manifest through the Incarnation, as John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was manifest to the believers in the upper room: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:2–4). The result of the manifest presence of God in the lives of the disciples was a world turned upside-down.

From the days of Adam and Eve, God has longed to be with us, and He wants to be with us forevermore. Where He is, there we will be forever. If only we thought about this more! The reality of God’s manifest, conscious presence strengthens us as we serve Him each day. We can turn to Him at any moment and speak to Him. This Christmas enjoy the presence of God that Jesus came to provide.

God is with you when you awaken in the morning, whether you feel fresh or groggy. He is with you in difficulties and duties. He never leaves, never abandons, never moves. He surrounds you with mercy as with a shield.

He is your every breath.

He is your every blink.

He is every beat of your heart.

His everlasting arms are beneath you, His Spirit is within you, His plans are before you, and His peace is no more than a millimeter from your mind if you will only remind yourself: Immanuel—God with you!

May His presence bring you great joy and peace this Christmas. Thank you, from the bottom of my very grateful heart for reading, praying for me, and sharing my studies with your friends. Merry Christmas, friend.

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