Emmanuel: God with Us
God loved us so much He sent His Son to be our Emmanuel, God living with us. People thought God's Son would be a political king or a man of means. Instead He came as a baby, born of a young virgin, engaged to Joseph, a descendant of David. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and explained the role God wanted her to take in His plan. Mary couldn't know what this meant in the future, but she trusted God and became the vessel to bring God's son to us. Joseph accepted his call to be Jesus' earthly father.
Jesus Begins His Ministry
We don't read much of Jesus' life until the Wedding at Cana, where Mary asked her son to turn water into wine. The hosts had run out of wine. Jesus performed His first miracle--turning water into wine, and He did it for his mother and as a kindness to the wedding party.
Fully human and fully divine, Jesus needed to spend time with His Heavenly Father. While Jesus, was with us, He taught us how to relate to God and how to relate to our fellow human beings.
In Mark 12:30, we read the New Commandments Jesus gave. First, Jesus says, "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength." Secondly, "Love your neighbour as yourself." Not only did Jesus give us these new commandments, but he also practiced them in daily life.
God's Son was tempted and tested, like we are, but even more so. The Pharisees and Sadducees watched his every move and asked questions to "trick" him into saying he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Admitting his divinity would be considered blasphemous and then they would have reason to kill him.
In the meantime, Jesus walked among ordinary people like us and talked to people of any race, creed, or moral standing. He visited and ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, lawyers, and common people in all walks of life.
Loving Us As We Are
One example of His acceptance is the story of Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. Jesus stepped over the "rule" that Jews didn't talk to Samaritans. The woman expressed her surprise
|"If you knew the gift of God."|
Jesus replied, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus told this common woman that He was the Messiah. She believed and went to tell the people of her town what had happened. By her testimony, they also believed. Jesus didn't talk to the leaders of the town, he spoke to a woman he knew had had five husbands and she wasn't married to the man she presently lived with.
The Gift of Eternal Life
When it was God's time, Jesus obedientl took our sins upon Himself and made His way down the streets of Jerusalem. With the help of Simon, a passer-by, Jesus carried the burden of the heavy cross, but Jesus alone carried the sins of the world.
In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, Jesus agonized and prayed to His Father, "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done." (Luke 22:42)
God loved us so much that He gave us His Son. Jesus loved God and loved us so much that He surrendered to God's will. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, we have the gift of eternal life.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, as part of the Godhead Three, also comes with a basket full of gifts to make our lives more abundant. By living close to God and listening to the Holy Spirit, we will receive His fruits as listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ,
The Gift of Availability
In Revelations 3:20, Jesus reminds us, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with this person, and they with me."
God Answers Prayers
Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8)
The Gift of the Eucharist
At the Last Supper, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples. . . "He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'"
The Eucharist is spiritual food. By eating it we are giving thanks, remembering Christ, and asking for help in serving God.
God has entrusted prophets, teachers and writers to record the books and stories that make up the Bible which is God's Word. Paul in his second letter to Timothy says of God's word, "Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another--showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us." (2 Timothy 3:16 The Message)
One More Gift
I stand corrected by God's Word, for there is one more important gift that we may humbly receive. That is grace, God's grace. After receiving all these wonderful gifts, we don't need to think we are something special.
Paul says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not of works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
My Prayer for You at Christmas
Throughout the Christmas Season and through the New Year, may God grant you the Love, Peace
and Joy that comes from Faith, Family and Friends. May God season you with large sprinkles of Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-control. Amen.
|Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!|