12 Christmas Gifts from Heaven #2 – Presence:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23).
Wow! If yesterday’s first Christmas Gift from Heaven wasn’t enough to get you excited – Jesus and free salvation – then today’s should have you jumping for joy. Not only did the angels announce good tidings of great joy for all people, but the prophet Isaiah also told us that this Saviour would be called Immanuel, which means God with us. God with us! Think about the implications of that for a minute. God Himself, the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, came down to the Earth to become one of us? John 1:14 tells us, “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Allow me to share a story with you today to help illustrate the awesomeness of this truth…
Grandpa walked into the family room and found his little grandson, Jeffy, standing up in his playpen, crying. He looked so pitiful, standing there in his little baseball T-shirt and diaper. His face was red and tear-stained from crying. When Jeffy saw his grandpa, his face lit up in a way that smote the old man’s heart. He immediately reached up his chubby little hands in supplication. “Out, Papa, out!” What grandpa could resist such a plea? Not this one! He walked over to the playpen and reached down to lift his little buddy out of captivity and distress.
Just then, however, Law and Order stepped into the room. Jeffy’s mother walked out of the kitchen with a dishtowel in her hand and spoke sternly. “No, Jeffy! You are being punished! You have to stay in bed! Leave him right there, Dad.”
Oh fine. Now what’s a grandpa to do? His grandson’s tears and reaching little hands tugged mightily at his heart—but he didn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline either. He couldn’t stand staying in the same room with the boy, reading his newspaper and pretending to be aloof. Nor could he turn around and walk out the door without feeling like a betrayed to his little pal. What could he do? Love found a way.
Since grandpa couldn’t take Jeffy out of the playpen, he climbed in with him. “If you’re in the playpen, Buddy, I’m in the playpen. What’s your sentence? How long are you in for?” And finding a big, jolly grandpa suddenly filling his little prison cell, the little boy found comfort even in his captivity.
What Jeffy’s Grandpa did is a picture of what Jesus did for us at Christmas. As much as God would have liked to have picked us up and drawn us close, because of His holiness, He could not…And yet, He loved us…Because His love was so great, He sent His Son to ‘climb into the playpen’ with us. We couldn’t live with God, so God came to live with us. Jesus couldn’t bring us to His house, so He came to our house. (Ron Mehl, Love Found a Way).
Wow! Isn’t that a beautiful illustration of the truth of Immanuel—God with us? The second Christmas Gift from Heaven that God has given to us is His very presence. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16). This Christmas Season, let us celebrate the joy of knowing Immanuel—God with us.
Pastor Chris Jordan