The past few months (since October), Jake and I have been going to Falls Church here in Sioux Falls. The services are wonderful, thought-provoking, and always personal. Pastor Lance is amazing at speaking to me, as well as Jake, and many others.
Anyway, a fun thing about our church is that it has "series" for the services. In October and November, it was "Lemonade," where it was focused on turning your crud into wonder by giving it all to God, basically. For the advent season, it's the "Born" series. Yes, it's mimicked (title-wise) after the Bourne series in film, but it's all good.
Last week, there was a clip to get our attention, talking about what the real meaning of Christmas is. Immanuel, meaning "God is With Us."
That really hit me. It said things like, "the woman on the verge of divorce: God is with you. the teenager gripped with addiction: God is with you. the man who watches all of his friends be married and he waits for that someone to find him: God is with you." The Bible, in Isaiah, tells us that the baby Jesus is God given to us, on this earth.
Christmas is the symbolism that we are not alone on this earth. God gave us his son to be on this earth with us. To walk among us. To experience with us. To live beside us and be our friend.
That's pretty powerful stuff.
I've always thought of Christmas as Jesus's birthday. That's pretty special. But to think of it as God giving his son to be with us, beside us, always... while I knew that before, it's pretty powerful. It hit me all over again.
It's comforting to think that although Jesus rose to heaven again, he is still with us. God, Jesus, the Spirit... they're with us always. God isn't just our father, he's our friend. He wants us to keep him with us, to cherish that gift. Don't just throw it away or put it on the shelf and take it out once a year at Christmas-time.
God is with US. Christmas changed the world over 2000 years ago. But the meaning of Christmas, "God is with us," can change the world, every minute, of every day.
If you want to hear the message from last Sunday, the first message of the "Born" series (including the gripping narrative I tried to replicate (and didn't do verbatim)), feel free to listen here: [THE BORN SERIES : week one]
Another powerful thing to keep in mind: We were made in God's image. We're not wrong who we are. We're exactly who he imagined us to be. And when we sin, we don't hurt Him. His heart breaks, not because we're sinning against Him and hurting Him, but because we're hurting ourselves: we are hurting the perfect image that He created us to be.