December 8: Advent Peace Day 13

Read Matthew 1:18-25

“…they will call Him ‘Immanuel’—which means ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23).

With whom are you planning to spend Christmas this year? Chances are, they are some of the people you would consider closest to you. Their presence is the source of much joy. Maximize it! Smile broader! Laugh louder! Hug tighter!

But perhaps, there is a chair this Christmas that will remain empty. Maybe someone had other commitments that prevented them from sharing time with you. Perhaps a relationship has been severed through disagreement, divorce, or even death. I am sorry if you will feel the pain of someone’s absence.

Meanwhile, God can’t bear the thought of absence from you. Jesus, is named “Immanuel.” It mean ”God with us.” That is what Christmas is all about. Through His birth, Jesus entered into our world. He is not a distant possibility or a sometimes feeling. He is a present reality, who has come to chase away your pain and to be the source of your greatest joy.

“God with us.” It’s not just the experience of those with whom He rubbed shoulders during His earthly ministry. Even now that He has ascended into Heaven, He assures us of the reality of His presence.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”(Is. 41:10).

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5).

You can choose to acknowledge His presence and know His peace in one of two ways this Christmas. You can celebrate it on the fringes, allowing Him to be One who is close but not right there. Or you can experience the deepest dimensions of His presence by inviting Him into your life in an intimate way. Here is how Jesus described it to a first-century church: “Here I am!I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).

Celebrate His presence in your Christmas even now! He came to bring you peace. Now let Him.

sbk

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