Thursday, December 18, 2014


“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).”  Matthew 1:23

Merry Christmas PCC!


Immanuel! God came to be with us! Re-read that line again and let it settle. 

To Joseph and everyone else listening or reading Matthew’s account of the angel’s visit, they heard the Immanuel announcement in the context of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament God is so holy, you can't even look upon Him in His purest essence and live. They would have known that Moses had to hide his face when God passed by because Moses couldn't handle the full-blown presence of God. They would have known that the angels closest to God in heaven are called burning ones because they are literally aflame due to God’s holiness. They would have known that when God dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the temple that nobody was allowed in, except for the high priest only once a year. 

And suddenly the angel tells Joseph, your fiancé is pregnant, it’s God’s doing and she is carrying God -- Immanuel – “God is with us.” 

  • What is it that made the shepherds run back into the fields rejoicing? What was it that caused the Wise Men to fall on their face and bow down and worship by divesting themselves of wealth?  
  • What is it that caused Simeon to run to the temple and take the Baby from their arms and tell the Lord -- now I can die! 
  • What is it that in Revelation 12, caused Satan himself to do everything in his power in the heavenlies to prevent the birth of Christ? 
It was this fact and this fact alone: the announcement that God is not a distant, far-off, uninvolved God. That God is not some cosmic clockmaker who just wound the world up and walked away. It was the reality that God came near; God was now with us. The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is a relational God who stripped Himself of His glory and became like us in the form of a baby, who was all God and all human yet without sin, He dwelt on earth. And He dwells with His followers today.

This Christmas as we turn our attention to Jesus, let’s not forget the intent of Jesus’ coming. Christmas is God coming to rescue us. It was an act of humility, love and sacrifice unparalleled in the history of the world. But the act did not take place in a vacuum. The act had a fierce intention to it, and the object of this act was you and me; the purpose was our rescue and restoration, to bring us back to God. Why have we lost sight of that?

Christmas is the most stunning rescue story of all time. Under cover of night, in a remote village in Palestine, in a world held captive by the dark prince, God comes to earth as a human being, a little boy. He invades the human race in order to rescue the human race. Satan was furious. He lashed out desperately to tried and stop the invasion. The angels went to war. (Revelation 12) But God could not be stopped. He would ransom and restore His beloved. The beauty of the act cannot be adequately expressed. And what are we to think of the ones God would go to such lengths to rescue, and at such a price? How precious they must be. They must be worth a great deal to him. Inestimable worth. 
At least, that ought to be the effect of Christmas upon us. May this truth help us to celebrate Christmas for what it is – as a daring rescue. God with us! May we be stunned at the way God goes about things. To fall in love again with His amazing heart. 

My prayer for us this Christmas season is that we would truly experience Immanuel -- God came to be with us!  I look forward to celebrating with you both this Sunday and diving deeper into Immanuel through our Hark! series. And then on Christmas Eve, I cannot wait to gather with you at one (or more!) of our 4 Christmas Eve Gatherings
Don’t come alone.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus is just too good to keep to ourselves! Who is God calling you to Immanualize?  To invest in relationally and invite to join you on Christmas Eve at one of our gatherings?

Merry Christmas beloved Church family! I love being your pastor!