Isaiah 7:14 “… Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name lmmanuel: God with us”
and what at first she had held tight within faith’s fist,
small mass of cells
somersaulting against internal walls.
Laughter must have risen up deep from that womb as God’s seed played in motion within her. Worship had consummated, (My Soul proclaims the glory of the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior,) and she was filled, growing large with Joy.
Because what is Joy except God’s Presence in full banquet form?
And she was carrying the Bridegroom of the wedding within her womb.
“God with us” changes everything.
Christ present is the difference between a life limping and a life full. “God with us” IS abundant life, whether the circumstances are a full bank account, a full brood, a full dance card or the expectant empty. “God with us” turns every moment into a God-full moment. Him present now is the difference between a life bereft and a life empowered.
LeAnne Payne wrote in Healing Prayer of the total exhaustion that had wilted her halfway through a retreat. For four days she had spilled out empty. With one more talk to give, she had no strength with which to give it.
What do we do when we are the empty? We take hold of Him who takes hold of us.
She stood up, consciously took hold of His hand and walked up to the podium. Then, unable to be anything but silent, she focused on Christ present. And silent she watched a mass of people begin weeping, falling to their knees, others with arms stretched out. She prayed a short prayer of thanks, believing the people had received all they needed, closed the session and walked back down to her seat.
Christ had been present beside her, a hand of blessing outstretched.
They had bathed in His presence and watched the Rescuer come.
And dear friends, remember this next time you are shrinking small: When we walk into a room holding onto the hand of the Emmanuel, we usher in the Redeemer, the Healer, the Comforter, the very Salvation of the world.
Like Mary, we become bearers of God.
Another Advent spiritual exercise for the thirsty:
Close your eyes and pray for God to sanctify your imagination (why would He have given us an imagination if not to redeem and use it?) Then ask Him where He is in the room. Allow Him to form the picture, then spend time in watching what He does next. Rest with Him, receive His love and take time to worship.
–From Dr. Anne Halle of Ashland Seminary
This “God with us” is one of my life-themes. It’s been six years and He just makes me more hungry for more Emmanuel. Want to read more here?
We are on Day 6 of our journey to the manger. Don’t miss a day. Subscribe on the front page in the CONNECT square. I’m praying for you as together we desire more of Him.