From Today’s Episode:
Welcome! We’re in our Hard & Holy Christmas Series and today’s topic is God with Us.
Heb 4:15; Luke 1:28; Matt 1:21-23
God, as I walk through this season of life, I know that you are God with me. What's one way I can notice you here?
Here’s the episode transcript
Hello friends. Welcome to our Hard and Holy Christmas series.
Many of us commemorate the advent season in the weeks leading up to Christmas. A Christian tradition with rich history, we mark this time with expectant waiting and preparation in celebration of the birth of Christ, and also as we look for his coming return. While liturgical practices of advent are not a focus of this podcast, we are using these weeks before Christmas to have conversations with God about the gift of Christ and about what is hard, and what is holy in the Christmas season.
If the Christmas season only represents joy and pure delight for you, I am glad! Use this series to draw near to our holy loving God full of celebration. For many of us, the holiday season often carries both bitter pain and sweet joy as we face reminders of past loss, present pain or frustration, or even future dreams deferred. And so if you relate to that, I want to encourage you to use this series to engage in conversations with God in your unique season. You can come to him in the hard and the holy. Not only does God understand what we’re going through, Hebrews 4:15 also tells us, Jesus sympathizes with our weakness. And the biblical Christmas story is full of both the hard and the holy as Christ comes into the world, born as our God with us.
So here’s my encouragement for you, let him be God with you in this season in a greater way.
There’s a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and theologian in the early 1900’s that still rings true for us today, "The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." This quote reminds me so much of the months leading up to the original Christmas.
In Luke 1, it tells us how the angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her the news of her coming pregnancy and she was troubled, trying to understand his greeting. And he told her of Jesus he said not to be afraid. She asks the angel “how will this be?” And I’m with her. I too often come to God with “how???” questions. Gabriel basically told her, “God will do it, nothing is impossible with God.” Which personally, left a lot of details unanswered that I would have wanted to know about. But let’s look back at how he greeted her when he first arrived, in Luke 1:28, “And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’”
So that’s Mary. Let’s take a look at Joseph. As recorded in Matthew 1, Joseph is considering divorcing her quietly because his betrothed is already pregnant, an angel came to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid to marry her. Let’s pick it up in Matthew 1:21-23: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”
God has always been with his people. But never more tangibly than through the birth and life of Jesus. Even the promise of salvation to come to the world through Jesus left so many questions answered for both Mary and Joseph. And they had their parts to live out for sure, responding in accordance with what God said. They were sure to have felt troubled and imperfect as they participated in something greater to come to the world through the gift of Jesus. But instead of filling in all the details and answering all the questions, God simply reminded them, I am with you.
As we enter into the Christmas season, with all that may be hard and holy ahead, let’s ask him to do the same for us today. God, as I walk through this season of life, I know that you are God with me. What’s one way I can notice you here? Have a good talk!
And if you’ve been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!
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