“Where do you look to find the right answers?” asked Sunday school teacher Daddy.
“The Bible or Mommy’s notebook,” replied my firstborn.
Later, that same eight year old took me sled-riding.
“Come on, Mom.”
“I’m scared to go down that hill,” I teased.
“Don’t worry. If you’re scared, just trust Jesus.”
I am humbled once again by a baby – a baby I received into the world what seems like yesterday. Help me become more like her, Lord.
I am reminded of how I felt the day I found out she existed. I remember the vulnerability and humility brought on by the unexpected newness of her presence within my body. I recall the prayers giving grateful thanks and acknowledging utter inadequacy. I remember the voice of a husband’s steady reassurance knowing he had the very same fears.
I listen as that same husband opens his day with that same baby. He reads aloud the story of another baby.
” Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). ~Matthew 1:18-23
God with us. Do not fear. “All glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.” Samuel Rutherford’s famous words echo as I call upon my savior. Sometimes the greatest gifts come in the most unexpected packages.
I do not remember the exact day I believed that Jesus existed. I do remember the vulnerability brought on by the unexpected newness of his presence within my body, though. I remember prayers of thanksgiving for his grace when my utter inadequacy and sin became apparent to me. I remember loving him. I recall the comfort found in his name, his picture, his hymns, and his church brought to me as a child. Shamefully, today, I still often fail to properly receive him, though.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. ~John 1:11
He came to us. We are his, yet we often fail to receive him. We are poor and yet we fail to receive his riches. We are blind and we fail to receive his light. We are naked and we fail to receive his covering. We are pitiful and we fail to receive his comfort. We are wretched and we fail to receive his grace.
Christ was not ashamed to come. He was not ashamed to cry out. As wretched, poor, pitiable, blind, and naked as we are, Jesus was never ashamed to call us his own. No. The long-expected Jesus came. Immanuel is here. God is with us. I will not miss him. No. I – no he – will allow no fear, no pride, no doubt, and no pain to keep my unlikely savior from me. He did not come this far in vain.
I will listen for his still, small voice; I will wait upon his plainspoken encouragement; I will fear no man; I will trust in him.
And when I won’t, he will pray; And when I don’t, he will wait; And when I do, he will protect; And when I fail, he will remain faithful.
Oh! How thankful I am for a God that does not give up! How grateful I am for a God of grace! How grieved I am over my utter inability to serve him! How deeply I long to know him!
I will read his blessed story. I will cling to his holy name. I will wait for his arrival. I will pray for the grace to obey.