Friday, December 13, 2013

Immanuel – God With Us


Her name was Karen. She was the young mother of two pre-school children: Laurel, her daughter, age 5, and Matthew, her son, age 2. Karen wanted the children to learn the real meaning of Christmas so early in December that year she brought home a small manger scene. All the figurines in the manger scene were made of wood, so they were pretty much indestructible.., and also easy for little hands to pick them up and move them around and place them in different positions.

The children loved the manger scene and they loved being able to touch the characters and hold them in their little hands and arrange and rearrange them in creative and child-like ways. As you would imagine, sometimes the little figurines would disappear... and later show up in the most fascinating places in the house.

And interestingly, the character that most often went away was Jesus. Karen would walk by and see that Jesus was missing again. One of the children had taken the Jesus figurine away and placed him somewhere in the house. Once Karen found him on the window sill in Laurel’s room and Karen thought, how appropriate.  Jesus comes to the world, born in a stable, but then he moves out of the manger to go with us and watch over us wherever we may go.

A few days before Christmas, the Jesus figurine disappeared again and Karen couldn’t find him anywhere. When time came to put the manger scene away, Jesus was still missing. Karen looked all over the house and could not find him anywhere. She called the children in to the manger scene, pointed to it and she said to them, “Where is Jesus?” Five-year-old Laurel scrunched up her shoulder and stuck out her hands, palms upward, in that universal gesture which means, “Search me. I don’t know. I have no idea. I don’t have a clue.”

Karen then turned to two-year-old Matthew and asked him, “Matthew, do you know where Jesus is?” Matthew became very animated and began talking a mile a minute. But as is sometimes the case with two-year-olds, it sounded like gibberish and neither Karen nor Laurel could understand what he was saying. He knew what he was saying, but they couldn’t get it.

Finally Matthew went over and took his mother Karen by the hand and led her to his room. Then he pointed to his bed. Karen pulled back the covers and looked everywhere but no luck. But then Matthew pointed to his pillow. There Karen found the Jesus figurine. There he was... under Matthew’s pillow!
Isn’t that beautiful? Because, you see, for many two-year-olds, bedtime is scary time. It’s dark in the room and they feel all alone. But Matthew felt safe and secure because Jesus was there with him!

This is the good news of Christmas, isn’t it? We find that incredible truth here in the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel with these magnificent words: “His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.  Here is the great truth of Christmas, the great message of Christmas, the great promise of Christmas, the great joy of Christmas, all wrapped up in that one word...Emmanuel!  We receive the gift by acknowledging His presence in our lives.  Make this holiday a holy day by spending time with Emanuel.

Scripture to Claim:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

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