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Emmanuel: God With Us

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

I love Christmas, and like all of you, I look so forward to it every year! I have four adult children, and we can't wait for all of our kids to come home so that we can play games and watch Christmas movies together. This year, I have an extra special gift: A sweet grandson named Ezra, who made me a “Grammy!" What a joy he is!

At Christmas time, I begin to daydream about all of our Christmas traditions and can't wait to do them all. I suppose that every family has their own special traditions that are meaningful to them. For me, I have a Christmas Breakfast Casserole that I make on Christmas morning every year that my family loves, and it brings me joy to make it for them. And me and my girls love to wear Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We love to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve, and play board games! A newer tradition that we have been doing with our extended family is decorating Christmas cookies! Every year, we bake sugar cookies and pull out all the holiday sprinkles and red, green, and white icing, along with all the cute little candy pieces to make it fun. We gather around the table, young and old, and choose a few cookies to decorate together. It's a fun memory that we enjoy every year.

Growing up, at Christmas time, my Dad used to put out a bowl of oranges and tangerines on the table with walnuts and pecans still in the shell, all mixed together, just sitting there, because that was something that his family did growing up. When I see oranges at Christmas, I think of my Dad. He would even put oranges in our Christmas stockings!

But really, the best thing about Christmas is JUST being WITH the people that YOU love. It’s simply being with them, drinking hot cocoa, eating cookies, sitting in the soft glow of the twinkle lights from the Christmas tree, and talking and laughing. This is what we really want – to be WITH the people that we love. Now it doesn’t always turn out like it portrays in the Hallmark movies – if we're all being honest, someone ends up crying, or getting their feelings hurt, or stressed out or rushed. But what we truly want - is time spent WITH the ones we love.

This year’s theme for our Ladies Christmas Gathering was "Emmanuel: God With Us," based on Matthew 1:23.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:23

Pray to truly know and experience God as "Emmanuel."

Jesus has many Names in the Bible, and one of the ways that we can grow closer to Him is by learning more about His Names. The meaning of the Name, “Emmanuel”, is given to us right there in the verse: “God with us.” So much is wrapped up in that Name’s meaning – God with us. Jesus came to earth as the Son of God, so that we could know and experience God more fully. NO other name of Jesus captures the whole heart of God toward us, like the Name, “Emmanuel”. In this Name, Emmanuel - we see that He is not a far away and distant God. He is not removed from the activity and emotion of human life. God sent Jesus, Emmanuel, His one and only Son, from His home in heaven, to be born on Christmas Day, to become human, to walk among us, to live with us, and to experience life like we do. He understands us.

Before Jesus, there was no Christmas – no Christmas carols, no Christmas gifts, no Christmas celebrations, no Christmas trees or lights. Can you imagine a world with no Christmas? That was the world before Jesus was born – cold, dark, and without hope. But Jesus came! When we could not go to Him, He came to us. That’s what a Savior does.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus,

for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

He came to save us from our sins, but He didn't stop there. He saved us from so much more. There is only one true God- the God of Heaven and earth. The God who holds the whole world in His hands. The God that sent His Son, Jesus, to be “Emmanuel,” God with us. That sets our God apart from all other false gods - His desire to love us and be with us! And I want to encourage you today, THAT GOD IS WITH YOU!

God is with you in your loneliness.

God is with you in your depression.

God is with you in your sickness.

God is with you in your heartbreak.

God is with you in your despair.

God is with you in your sorrow.

God is with you in your Joy!

God is with you in your rejoicing.

God is with you in your celebration.

God is with you when the bottom falls out.

God is with you when you’re at the end of your rope.

Christmas is a reminder every year, all over again, that God moved Heaven and earth just to be with us. This was His heart from the beginning. Christmas is not the end, but just the beginning of knowing, trusting, and believing that God is with you.

Prayer Points:

● God, thank You for sending Jesus to be Emmanuel, "God With Us" .

● Jesus, I thank You for being near and close to me, not far away and distant.

● Jesus, help me to truly experience You as "Emmanuel" this Christmas season.

● Lord, I praise You for constantly and relentlessly pursuing me and drawing me into a

close and loving relationship with You.

Dear God, I come before You in Jesus’ Name, and I worship You. You are the God who loves me and pursues me. You are the God who is with me in the fires and trials of life - that sets You apart from all other gods. You are the One true God. No other can compare. I am humbled that I am never an interruption or a bother to You. You are always beckoning me to move toward You. Lord, give me faith to stay close to You. I don’t deserve Your presence, but I humbly receive all that You are by faith, as Your daughter.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In Christ,

Michelle Staubs

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