Tuesday, December 20, 2011

immanuel.

It’s such a crazy thing- God Himself came down to live with us here.

I can’t understand it even a tiny bit, but I’m so thankful for it.

Immanuel came as a ransom for us.

He left Heaven to dwell among us- among evil people.

Sometimes the thought crosses my mind- what if God told our family to go where we knew we would be martyred? What if He sent us to a place so vile that we would be killed immediately if we were found out? How hard would it be for us to obey His command?

But that’s exactly what Jesus had to do- He knew He would face a horrible death- and far worse than just that- full separation from His Father for that time. He was totally forsaken by God. Oh, I can’t even comprehend it. My heart aches just trying to picture it. I can’t even begin to imagine what He felt.

He came down. To be a human. To feel pain as we did. To die, to be forsaken so that we could live.

Words just don’t do it justice.

Jesus.

Immanuel, God with us.

Our Savior.

 

And then I imagine Mary. What would it be like to be told this thing would happen to you? To see your belly growing when you’ve never been with a man? Did she feel heartache at the looks and rumors that must’ve been swirling among her friends? Did she worry about what her cousin would say when she found out?

How did she feel when she walked in to see Elizabeth? Would she have to tell her what happened? Was she thinking of ways to explain her swelling, opening her mouth to start with hello, when Elizabeth interrupted and spoke the words,

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

And how did Mary feel at that moment? I can just imagine this sudden rush of relief, emotions coming all at once as they embraced with tears flowing and the words just pouring out with praise as Mary said,

    “My soul magnifies the Lord,
        and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
        For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
    for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
        and holy is his name.
    And his mercy is for those who fear him
        from generation to generation.
    He has shown strength with his arm;
        he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
    he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
        and exalted those of humble estate;
    he has filled the hungry with good things,
        and the rich he has sent away empty.
    He has helped his servant Israel,
        in remembrance of his mercy,
    as he spoke to our fathers,
        to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:45-55 ESV)

Oh praise the God, who brings salvation to His people! This loving God who takes regular women and gives them a heart of obedience in the face of scandal and trials. The One who gives sinful humans like us a new heart to say, “ The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

All because of Jesus. His obedience to the cross brings new life to our hearts- changing who we are from the inside to reflect His glory on the outside. He came here- a tiny infant- and changed the whole world.

The same baby the shepherds came to worship in a stable came to bring salvation to all mankind. And the very same Immanuel will come back once again. Oh, the very thought of that day brings joy and hope as we look for His return!

As Simeon, filled by the Holy Spirit with faith, longed to see the Messiah with his eyes- in the same way we longingly await the day when Christ returns for His bride.

What a glorious day that will be- and as we wait, may we have obedience and joy and praise like Mary did. And even better yet- like Jesus did. Oh, may the day we see Him again be one of great joy as He says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Oh, praise Him- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! He is GOOD!

Merry Christmas, my sweet friends. It is a very merry one, indeed.

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