“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:8-11
This Christmas morning, as I read this very familiar story my eyes fill with tears at the wonder of what happened on this day so many years ago. I am struck today by verse 11 “for there is born TO YOU this day..” He was born to you and to me, to all of mankind, a gift given to each of us individually. The weight of the power of the incarnation of Christ falls quietly on my heart and my only response is gratitude. Gratitude that He would condescend to come to earth, condescend to give up His deity and take on broken, weak human form; condescending to come that we might know, no matter where we might find ourselves, He has come to us. He has not simply come FOR us, He has come TO us.
Into the darkness, of that night so long ago, a star shined bright. Into the quiet, a baby’s cry penetrated the night. After 400 years, Hope was rekindled into a nation that thought God had forgotten. To a nation who thought God was not good for His word, the promise was delivered. But they almost missed it. Looking for a king or someone with power and political clout, the almost missed the beautiful, messy way the Savior they had been waiting for had arrived. His arrival delivered light into the darkness. His arrival breathed hope back into tired hearts. His birth signaled the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. He.Is.With.Us! Even in our tired, broken, messy, hope devoid, dark places Emmanuel is come and we are not alone.
My wish for each of you this Christmas is that no matter where you find yourself today, whether surrounded by loved ones and celebrating with abandon, or alone and grieving a loss or an ache you can scarcely put into words, my prayer is that you may feel Emmanuel today. May you feel the hope this day offers and may you remember that you are not alone because Emmanuel has come. Today a gift has been given to YOU.