Thursday, 22 December 2016 18:04

Immanuel

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Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). –Matthew 1:18-23, ESV


As 2016 draws to a close, the concept of God as our Immanuel (God with us) is a theme that we all need as we see chaos in the world around us and even in our own lives and hearts. Jesus ultimately experienced what it was like to face the brokenness of the world and do so alone when He was on the cross so that we would not have to. 

Have you seen that old-time favorite Christmas show, a Charlie Brown Christmas? There is a scene towards the end when Charlie Brown, in a moment of despair, asked, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” and Linus steps in to quote Luke 2:8-14, sharing the Christmas story. Linus is the endearing character who is rarely seen without his handy security blanket, for which he is ridiculed by his peers. But then, as he quotes the angels telling the shepherds to “fear not,” he drops his blanket. This scene is full of application for us. Pastor Jason Soroski, in his now famous article entitled "Just Drop the Blanket," put it this way:

"The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears. The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves. The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to him instead. The world [of 2016] can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, [2016] is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.” But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found."

What “blankets” have you been clinging to for security? Maybe it is a habit. A relationship. An insatiable need for control. Whatever it is, know that you can lay it down. We loosen our grip not by looking to our blankets, but by following the example of Linus and looking to our Immanuel, God with us. He is our safety. He is our trust. Only then do our blankets begin to drop. May 2017 be a year of clinging to Him more closely.


Contributor: Rachel Kuchem, LMSW (Intern)

Read 362 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 December 2016 18:07
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