What God Is Teaching Me This Christmas
As I reflect over where God has taken my family and I over the last 365 days, I am absolutely humbled.
Throughout 2018 we have lived in Senegal, Ghana, and (now back in) the United States. We have been a part of weddings and funerals, concerts and birthdays, and afternoon tea’s and ministry events. We have been lucky enough to have found countless new friends across the United States and throughout West Africa.
As I sit with my one and a half year old son wrapping presents (or at least making an admirable attempt), I am left reminded how good God has been during 2018.
It is Christmas Eve as I publish this post and I wanted to spend a moment sharing with you the main thing that God has been teaching me over the last several days.
This time of year we remember the amazing, history-defying coming of Jesus here to Earth. God got down on our level - literally - and nothing has ever been the same. He lived an unassuming life, transformed lives during a brief stint as a traveling rabbi, died on a cross for all of humanity, and rose from the dead - thus defeating the power of death and evil.
This God who died is no longer dead and He now offers us this death-defying life. And this life transformation is available today. This is GOOD NEWS!
And where did this miraculous incarnation start?
God being WITH us. Jesus began His story on Earth by coming to be with us.
There is an transforming power of “WITH” which I have been reminded of this Christmas.
Think about this. Some of the most life-changing events and heart-warming moments are centered on being with people:
The beauty of sitting with others around a table and sharing a meal together.
The importance of sitting in a hospital grieving a loss of life with loved ones.
The simplicity of sitting with a best friend or mentor over coffee.
The life change that comes from tutoring with a student.
The awe-inspiring experience of traveling to a new destination with friends.
A centering prayer service with others.
A transforming Bible study with fellow Christ-followers.
A healing conversation at 4AM in a IHOP with best friends.
Across our lives, we have been molded by our experiences and conversations WITH others. Now while all of our life events may have not been good, all of the best ones happen with others and with God.
And in those moments of being with others, we reflect the image of God who came and lived with humans like us. Christmas is all about God being with us.
In fact, that is the meaning of one of the names for Jesus. Immanuel - “God with us.”
So this Christmas, I am reminded that God is with me. In the good and the bad. He has changed and is changing my life through being with me.
And I can do the same by living life with others. Real, messy, authentic life.
What about you?
As we wrap up 2018 and step into 2019, how can you live life with others? How can you bring love and joy and change by being with those around you?
God is with us.
That is the Good News of Christmas.
May we embody that “with-ness” in our own lives.
Have a very Merry Christmas!