I love everything about the Christmas season. The lights, the food, the presents …
and my favorite part … spending time with family! This year is especially exceptional for Alecia and me.
We recently moved away from the snow (Praise Him!), and closer to our family. We are so excited to spend so much extra time surrounded by our loved ones. This year we really get the full experience of the season! Rather than trying to speedily run through all of our activities in the customary week vacation. We get to slow down, talk, laugh and enjoy being around each other. Rather than dreading the fact that our departure date is right around the corner …
A simple thought hit me hard today as I was seeking the Lord and reading about the birth of Christ. In Matthew 1 :23 it says, •Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.” The thought was this, the proclamation of who the Lord was declared to be before He was born, is our call as Christians. It’s our call as the church. We’re called to a ‘God is with us’ life.
If we’re honest, I think we would all admit we don’t always sense the Lord’s sweet presence in each other very often. Why? As Christians we often spend our time involved in good religious activities. Such as, prayer groups, Bible studies, outreach ministries- and that’s all very commendable. But if we are not careful … we risk becoming Christians who spend a lot of time in fellowship and little-if any time at all seeking the Lord’s presence, in the secret closet of prayer.
The Lord’s presence simply can’t be emulated. This is true whether it applies to a church body or an individual’s life. When I speak of God’s presence, I’m not talking about some kind of super-spiritual aura that mystically surrounds a person or that comes down in a church service. Rather, I am talking about the result of a simple but powerful walk of faith. Whether that’s manifested in a Christian’s life or in an entire congregation, it causes people to take note. They tell themselves, “This person has been with Jesus; or “This congregation truly believes what they preach.”
It takes much more than a righteous person or pastor to produce an “Immanuel” church. It takes a righteous, shut-in people of God. If a stranger comes out of a church service and says, •1 felt the presence of Jesus there,” you can be sure it wasn’t just because of the worship or preaching. It was because a righteous congregation had entered God’s house, and the Lord’s glory was abiding in their midst. ‘God with me’ is an answer to His call for us and our lives.
His presence is so sweet and, just like my time with family this Christmas, it is truly enjoyed when it doesn’t just come in for a short while and leave.