It still blows my mind! It is hard to get my head around what happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. The God of this world came to our cold, dark, broken world. He came not to condemn us, not to bring His wrath, not to show how disappointed He is in us, not to scold us for screwing up. He came to show He loves us by being with us!
I heard a story a few years ago about a group of special needs students’ trip to the mall. As they were preparing to leave the mall after making their purchases, it began to rain. No, it was a downpour. The group was waiting just under the awning waiting for their turn to board the bus. One by one they were lead to the bus by their leaders. One of the last students to be lead to the bus had purchased the largest cup of coffee he could find. As he was being led to the bus he accidentally dropped the coffee on the ground. In his sadness and disappointment, he sat down crying. The leader then did something amazing. Instead of picking him up, yelling at him to hurry up before they get soaked, she sat down, in the coffee and in the pouring rain and hugged him.
She sat in the pouring rain, in a puddle of coffee and just sat with him.
One dark, cold night surrounded by farm animals, God Himself, stepped out of heaven to join us in our mess, our spilled coffee. He has revealed to the world that He has not left us. He has not turned His back on us. In fact, He is pursuing us with a love beyond anything we can imagine.
“Emmanuel” is one of the names given to Jesus. It means “God is with us.” This last year you may have experienced some very dark days, weeks or months. You may have lost loved a loved one, lost a job or suffered a broken relationship. We are promised that even in those dark days, God is with us. Even the days when we made poor decisions or said things we wish we shouldn’t have, God is with us. Jesus did not come to those who appeared to have it together. He came to the screw-ups, the misfits, the outcasts. He is drawn to us not because we look like we have it together not because we do the good and right thing. No, He is drawn to us because of our brokenness, because we have spilled our coffee in the pouring rain.
A holy God, drawn to messy, broken, people. This should give us great hope. The God who created us has not given up on us, even in times when we may have given up on ourselves. God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. The God I know is eternally loving, eternally merciful, and eternally gracious. He loves where we are today, but he loves enough not to leave us where we are. This is good news!
As we move to the new year, let us be reminded that no matter what you have been through or what we will go through in 2019, God has proven to us that HE IS WITH US.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.