“Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.'” Matthew 1:23
Christmas is such a special time as we remember the miracle of God with us, the birth of a baby that was both fully God and fully human. The One who has shone light into our dark world and brought us bright hope and peace.
I have been sick these past few weeks and it has been hard. I do not like being reminded of the weakness of my body. It is hard to push back the fears that steal in and grip my heart–fears about what my future holds health-wise. Fears that I won’t get all the way better. Fears that I won’t have the strength to care for my family. Fears that I’ll fight my way back to health only to be knocked down by illness again.
But it is good too. It is so good to remember that my strength comes not from myself, but from God who supplies all my needs. It is good to pray with compassion and understanding for so many others with cystic fibrosis and other ailments who are struggling. And this season it has been so good to witness first hand some of what “God with us” means.
God with us means that we are never alone. I feel God’s presence in my dark moments. He whispers words of peace, comfort, and assurance. He reminds me that He has borne my griefs and carried my sorrows. He assures me that my life and my future are safe in His hand. With this struggle I have seen God living in so many who have surrounded me with love. I have been blessed by family and friends who have reached out to me–messages and phone calls to see how I’m feeling. Prayers for my return to health. Taking Lucas to his scheduled activities when I was too sick to leave the house. Bringing Lucas into their homes to play with cousins and friends. Giving him love and attention and activity when I was too tired to meet his needs. Dropping off remedies to help calm my symptoms. These expressions of love mean so much to me. They ease my burden and bring joy into a difficult time. It is part of God with us, God at work in this world through the love and generosity of others.
So even though my Christmas cards may be late this year, my house may be dirty, there may be no homemade Christmas cookies or handmade gifts, and I may have a little less energy for merry making, my heart is full of gratitude. Thank you family and friends. Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, your selflessness, your generosity. Thank you for your love and care. Thank you God for coming to walk among us, for sending us your Spirit, and for living in our hearts. God with us.
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