Matt. 1:23 ¶ “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

One of the shocking things I experienced as a Christian was God’s unusual presence was with me. I have been accused of being overly dramatic but at the risk of that accusation I maintain that there is a special presence of God that I experience every Christmas time. I often remember one Christmas in particular when Parris and I stayed in the mountains of Oregon in a tent at Christmas time. We were part of a tree planting team raising money for our school that winter. Rather than break camp, which was quite an ordeal, they asked for volunteers to stay with the camp over the holidays. Parris and I and one other couple volunteered and stayed in the mountains that Christmas. It snowed that Christmas, it snowed a lot. I have never seen such quiet and such beauty as I saw that year. The most beautiful experience was the nearness of Christ. He was with us, I mean He was really there with us. Everything took on a special flare. Chopping the wood was special, getting water from the river was special, laying in the tent at night listening to the sounds of that remote forest was quite exceptional. We didn’t have many gifts or much of a fancy meal but we had a Christmas like no other; we discovered what Christmas really is; God was with us. Here are some thoughts from John Calvin on today’s verse.

“The phrase, God is with us, is no doubt frequently employed in Scripture to denote, that he is present with us by his assistance and grace, and displays the power of his hand in our defense. But here we are instructed as to the manner in which God communicates with men. For out of Christ we are alienated from him; but through Christ we are not only received into his favor, but are made one with him….in Christ the actual presence of God with his people, and not, as before, his shadowy presence, has been exhibited. This is the reason, why Paul says, that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And certainly he would not be a properly qualified Mediator, if he did not unite both natures in his person, and thus bring men into an alliance with God.”

This Christmas turn your eyes upon Jesus. God has revealed Himself to all of us in His Son. As you look to Him don’t be surprised when the atmosphere changes. You never know, you may become a drama queen like me.


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