One of my very favorite words, because of its soul-gripping, tear-jerking, life-changing, raise-my-hands-and-praise-the-Lord meaning:
God with us.
Jesus Christ, the very essence of God, wrapped Himself in a tiny cloak of human flesh.
Two bright eyes that roam to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
One precious, puckered mouth that breathed the breath of life into the man, and the man became a living being.
Sweet-smelling hair atop a perfectly round head that would one day bear a crown of thorns.
Two tiny, fisted hands that would be slammed against a wooden cross and pierced through with nails.
The only phrase that delights my soul more than God with us is God in us...
Did you know there were 400 silent years preceding the angelic visits to Zechariah and Mary declaring the imminent births of John the Baptist and Jesus? Four hundred long years during which God stopped all obvious signs of interaction with…anyone. No prophets announcing the word of the Lord. No men divinely inspired to write Scripture. Though certainly still active in the world’s affairs, God was generally…silent.
Prior to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on all believers at Pentacost (Acts 2), God’s Spirit would rest on individuals for a special outpouring of power. And at times His words would come to individuals for a special foretelling of events to come. There was no widespread access to the Holy Spirit for the general population.
But as far as we can tell, even those individual divine encounters stopped altogether for 400 years.
The book of John describes Him as “the Word made flesh.” The use of the term “Word” here is particularly poignant when we realize the advent of the “Word made flesh” was preceded by 400 long, dark, agonizing years of NO WORDS.
And then, THE WORD was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.
He came to be God with us.
He died and rose again to be God in us.
So we never again have to experience silent years from God.
Dear believer, when is the last time you experienced a divine encounter? When were you last consciously aware of God’s presence with you? And His residence in you? Has it been weeks? Months? Years?
It need not be so. And that’s what Christmas really means.
Written by Jennifer Clarke