God Is With Us
This month we will be sharing a collection of short readings by Northeastern Seminary alumni as they reflect on and rejoice in the gifts of God's grace and the signs of Christ present during this Advent Season. Today's guest post was written by Michele Miner.
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” (Matt 1:23)
The entire Bible – every book, every chapter, every story, and life itself – is about connection. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Heaven and earth; created together and connected. Then sin entered the world, shattering that perfect harmony. The new behaviors of covering, hiding and asking the first recorded question revealed the chasm that had formed between Creator and creation.
For a time, God spoke through the prophets and made His presence known through signs and wonders, yet for most people He was remote and impersonal, accessible only by the high priest and then only once a year.
Then came that moment when the plan of salvation was put into action as the divine right Hand reached down from heaven to save humankind. One cannot help but wonder about the reaction of the angels as Jesus put on a coat of skin for His ultimate rescue mission. Did they cheer Him on? Did they grab onto each other and hold their breath in shock and awe while they watched the fullness of God go down and condense into a single cell?
We know what they did nine months later—they celebrated! They proclaimed the good news of great joy for all the world. At long last, Savior was born. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Emmanuel arrived; God was with us up close and in person.
The first instance of the word “with” in the Bible is in Genesis when, on the third day of the creation story, God created vegetation and trees that bear fruit with the seed in it. Later, when the One who would rise on the third day told the parable of the sower, He explained that the seed was the Word of God. He commanded us to bear much fruit by imprinting His Word in our hearts and minds. Through sowing Scripture, we connect with God, knowing Him and becoming like Him.
In the very last verses of the Bible, Jesus said He is coming soon. John recorded His promise to come back to take us with Him to be with Him forever. On that day there will be no more questions; we will know as we are fully known, united once again, reconciled for all eternity. And until that day, His grace will be with all the saints, because God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer.
At Christmas, we celebrate the time when Almighty God literally reached down to touch us. Now, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. While this season can be painful for those who have lost loved ones, the fact is that we will never be alone again, because God is with us, now and forevermore. Amen.
Michele Miner, M.A. '10 lives in Liverpool, N.Y. where she writes, see ImprintTheWord.com and her book The Word Of God: Unleashing The Power Of Scripture Memorization, and serves as guest speaker.