Celebrating Immanuel: The Everlasting Presence of God

an illustration of Jesus' bed of hay beneath the star of Bethlehem, the start of the everlasting presence of God

The presence of God upon the earth did not begin with Jesus’ birth. Like fingertips brushing a page of braille, we can trace the presence of God from the very beginning. God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the night. God, speaking to Moses through a fiery bush. God, leading His people by cloud and by fire. God, abiding in the nomadic wilderness Tabernacle. God, speaking His words through the prophets.

Present, yet not fully seen.

Immanuel: God With Us

That is, until Immanuel arrived through the cries of childbirth; a baby, whose tiny fingers and chocolate eyes were a marvel. God with us, come to abide in our sin-choked world.

Turning the tide, Jesus’ arrival opened a way for God to constantly and intimately abide with His people. Now there is no need for fiery bushes, or clouds by day, or glories concealed within the Holy of Holies. All because Immanuel came and walked beside His people, and reclined at their dinner tables, and touched the lepers, and took children into His embrace. 

But then He left this earth, and not surprisingly, His disciples grieved what they did not know. That it was best for Jesus to go away. Jesus’ embodied presence was held within the limits of time and space. But now we have one whose embodied presence resides in you, and in me, and in all of those who trust in God. And the presence of this gift, the Holy Spirit, knows no bounds.

The Spirit that Knows No Bounds

The indwelling Spirit plays various roles in your life, but here are just a few: a comforter for your grief; the truth-teller during temptations; your Counselor in complications; teacher on the journey; and power in your weakness.

He is with us in the arguments with our spouse, and when we make up. He’s with us in carpool traffic, during our company meetings, at loved one’s funerals, in the courtroom, in a hospital bed, and during our sleepless nights. He’s with us when we push our baby on the swing and when we laugh.

The abiding, everlasting presence of God is with us. With us. A guarantee that one day soon, Jesus will return and we will all be together: Father, Son, Spirit and His people. I’m looking forward to this reunion, a day when we will look back over our lives and trace the perfect presence of God like braille upon the pages of our own story.

Merry Christmas. God is with us!

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