If I have not told you before, I love the Christmas season. I love decorating my house with lights, putting up the Christmas tree, playing in the snow, seeing family and friends, and more. So on the day after Thanksgiving I officially loaded all 250+ Christmas songs I have onto my iPod, and flipped all my radios to 24/7 Christmas Music. No sooner did I flip on my radio station did the song, O Come O Come Emmanuel come onto to radio. I remember singing that song for so long, and wondering to myself, what does Emmanuel mean? I know they are talking about Jesus, but what is Emmanuel? The root word is Immanuel meaning, “God is with us.”
John 1 puts it this way, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14 (NIV). The word used here that to explain Jesus dwelling among is more than just Jesus coming here to visit. The word used here in this passage means literally that Jesus took up residence, that he pitched his tent. Jesus came here and settled in for a time.
Steve sat in his living room alone on a cold night, because his wife was out at church for a mid week service. Steve never really went to church, all that stuff was just a fairy tale anyway. I mean come on, God coming to earth, people raised from the dead, it was just not for him. Steve was listening to the news reports that night talk of the record lows they were approached as he watched the wind and snow blow outside his window. After a few minutes he began to hear thumps on his window, and as he looked out he saw a number of birds hitting his window, all just trying to get to the fire in his house and out of the cold. Filled with compassion for the birds, he ran out to his barn and threw open the doors and yelled come on in birds, thinking it would keep them from freezing to death outside. Yet no birds came, then he had a great idea, the birds were trying to get into the house because of the fire, so he made a fire in the barn and again yelled come on in birds, knowing the fire could keep them safe from harm. Yet again no birds came in. After a few minutes Steve was so frustrated he yelled out loud, If only I could be a bird. If I was a bird I could show them all the way into the barn, out of certain death, and into life. And then it hit him like a ton of bricks why God sending his son to Earth made all too much sense.
In this holiday season we sing and celebrate because God sent his only Son to make his home here in this world. God sent Jesus to experiencing skinning his knees, feeling left out, and more. He did it all so that Jesus would be one of our own, so that one of our own would show us the way to life and away from death, the way to God. As we celebrate Advent at church we are not celebrating God removed from our world, but God who lived and dwelt in our shoes, who understand all of our pains and joys. Feeling down or overwhelmed this holiday season, take it to God, he knows what that is like. Stressed, confused, excited, anxious, he has been there. And this is the reason that I get most excited about the Christmas season each year.