Christmas … It’s about being with God

Did you know that Christmas is about God wanting to have a relationship with you? You might have thought it was about presents, or peace on earth, good will to man … that sort of thing – and it is in a lesser way. But at the center of the Christmas message is a God of love who desires to be with you.

That’s right. God wants to spend time with you.

That’s why the Father sent Jesus to be born as a little baby. It set in motion this whole plan of love in Jesus’ death and resurrection that would break through the barrier of sin and reunite mankind with a loving Heavenly Father.

Hanging out with mankind was God’s idea from the beginning. The Bible says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. The Father sent Jesus because He wanted to renew that kind of intimate fellowship with us.

During the Christmas season we often sing the classic hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” but have you ever thought about what this familiar song means? The text is based on the biblical prophecy from Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.” (NIV)

The name Emmanuel literally means “God with us.” God gave Jesus to mankind as the first Christmas present. The Apostle Paul tells of the wonder of this idea several times in his letters. In Colossians 1:27 we are informed: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (NIV)

This is the hope of heaven through salvation through Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18 emphasizes to us that: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (NIV)

Romans 5:10 tells us who we are and what we can be: “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (NIV)

Jesus Himself made it clear that a relationship with God should be our highest priority in this life. That it is imperative we take seriously the directive of John 15:7-8 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (NIV)

It is God’s will that we remain in fellowship with Him for all eternity. We see this in the beautiful hope-filled words of the Apostle John in Revelation 21:3 where John recalls his vision: “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.” (NIV)

This is the glorious news that was proclaimed to all … that Jesus is Emmanuel. By His blood that was shed not many years later, He did ransom captive Israel – and now He lives with us through the promised presence of the Holy Spirit.

So, have a very merry Christmas knowing that God loves you and wants to be with you. May you seek, accept, and know the presence of your Heavenly Father in a special way during this blessed season. And, may you join with God’s people in singing the Christmas song “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh Israel” really knowing and experiencing its depth.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Donald Grant of Hillview Wesleyan Church, Lock Haven.