One of the many truths this past year has taught us is the importance of human connection, real community, and being physically present with others.
Zoom, Skype, social media have all been blessings to keep a small part of relationships going, but we have learned that they cannot replace the real thing. Flesh and Blood together, be it laughing or crying, sitting silent or arguing over petty details.
Fellowship and relationship go hand in hand.
Enter Emmanuel God-With-Us.
It started in the Garden. God desired to be with His people. He wasn’t content to create the world and then let things go. God created a world and then entered in to that world.
He walked in the garden.
He talked to Adam and Eve.
He knew His creation and they were able to learn about and therefore, get to know God.
But in a moment all that changed. Sin and death built a new throne in the hearts of people, and the intimacy that existed between God and men was destroyed. God was no longer able to walk among His creation. The connection was lost.
God declared He would send a Seed to fix this problem. And the prophets declared this Seed would be the Messiah, a King who would set Israel free from her enemies. A King who would walk in obedience to God’s commands and lead the people to obey as well. For many long years Israel waited for this Messiah, the Anointed One of God.
And then finally, the Messiah came. But this was not just any man. Wonder of wonders. This was God Himself, come down in the flesh, taking up human form. For the first time having actual wants and needs, unable to feed Himself, unable to stop Himself from shivering in the cold. Learning to talk, learning to walk, learning to eat and read. Needing naps and diaper changes.
Emmanuel – God-With-Us.
Not content to send someone else. Not content to use another human mediator. Not content to stay in heaven any longer. God Himself came down once again to be with His people, to have human interaction and real touch, physical closeness, to be flesh and blood together with His people. To have honest community, establish a human connection, and be physically present.
Jesus chose to enter into a world tainted by sin and despair. A world that was hurting and in pain. The Son of God put on human flesh with all it’s weaknesses and problems. The Almighty Infinite Holy God could now touch and be touched, see and be seen. Face to face and hug to hug, God with us.
The Wonder of the first Christmas is not found in all the prophecies that Jesus’ birth fulfilled. The wonder of the first Christmas comes not simply in a miraculous virgin birth. Or the amazing angelic display to the shepherds and the wise men coming from a distant land to worship a baby.
The wonder of the first Christmas is that God Himself came down to be with us. God Himself took on flesh and blood. Leaving the throne room of heaven and the constant worship and adoration of the heavenly hosts, the Son of God became a baby.
Emmanuel, God-With-Us. Amazing. Incredible. And oh so needed, especially this year.