“God Is With Us…”

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”

“Surely Lord you haven’t brought me to this horrible place just to leave me here alone,” I prayed. I remember well sitting in that candle-lit sanctuary on Christmas Eve, all alone. At that time, I belonged to a church that had a tradition of leaving all the doors unlocked on Christmas Eve, an invitation for anyone to walk in and rest in the presence of God. And I certainly needed Him that night. As I sat there, crying and praying in that empty church, the only thing I could think of was that I was alone on Christmas for the first time in my life. And my heart was broken.

It had been such a hard few months. My marriage had ended. My job had been eliminated. My home was sold to someone else. Everywhere I turned, things that I held dear were being stripped away from me. And there was nothing I could do about it. So I did the only thing I knew that might bring me some peace. I found my way to church and just sat there in the stillness, hoping that God would do something to make me feel better.

That was a big leap of faith because I had only been a believer for a very short while. I didn’t know much about doctrine or theology. I hadn’t had a long and enduring lifetime with God as many had. All I had was a broken heart, and hope that this Savior I barely knew would be there for me.

So I just sat there in the quiet, looking at the stained glass windows and contemplating what I was going to do all by my lonely self on that holiday weekend. It was a dismal thought. But then, almost as if He were sitting right beside me, I heard His voice.

“I AM here.” He said.

I will never forget it. Three simple words that changed my whole life. Notice he didn’t say , “I will fix it,” or “Everything will be alright.” My Savior came to me in my despair and spoke three powerful words,

“I AM here.”

And that was enough. I realized that was all I needed. As long as Jesus was beside me, I knew I wasn’t alone. I trusted that everything would get better because He was in this pit with me. I believed His words that He had a plan for me, and that it was a good one. I believed him when He said that He came so I would have an abundant life. I believed that He was the author of my salvation and my Prince of Peace. And regardless of my temporary circumstances that evening, everything would get better. Just because Jesus was there, like He promised.

Friends, Jesus didn’t come into this world for the fanfare and celebration of Christmas. He didn’t come for the parties and the presents. He came into this world to save it. He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, and to heal the sick. He came to get down into the muck and mire of our bad places, and to walk with us through them.

So, whatever circumstance you find yourself in this Christmas Eve, remember – Your Savior is right there with you and may be the One holding your head above water.

May His peace reign on Earth and in our hearts brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus,

You came so that I would never be alone.  And You have been faithful to that promise.  Through all the good days and the bad, You have never left me nor foresaken me.  Help me to feel Your presence on this Holy night, and in all the days to come.  Thank You, my King.  And I praise Your name, for You are my Alpha, my Omega, my beginning and my End.

Amen