God In Our World (The Christmas Series)

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
    She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
    which means ‘God is with us.’”

Matthew 1:22-23 New Living Translation

Immanuel, God is with us; I can’t help but imagine what that phrase meant to a people who once had their own nation and government but now lived as the conquest of the latest and greatest empire to appear on the scene. Many, perhaps even Joseph and Mary, may have felt that they had been abandoned by their God. They waited for what they believed would be a political and military deliverer who would restore their nation back to the greatness it once knew. They wanted to believe that Yahweh was not through with them and the name Immanuel represented that hope more than any other name associated with Jesus. Once again God would make His presence known in Israel.

When Immanuel came, though, it wasn’t in the way that many expected. He was not born in a place that would grant Him power and influence from a human perspective. He never knew great amounts of wealth. He came as a vulnerable baby born to a humble family. He spent His life talking about a Kingdom that was not measured by the standards of this world. It was a place where people of the lowest position could find a home and community but the rich and the powerful often found it difficult to enter in. God was truly among them, but many would not see this because of their own bias.

We live in a world that often feels broken and disjointed and we may wonder if God is anywhere near us at all. Often we find ourselves looking to anyone who will promise to take away those things we fear to be our deliver and give us a feeling of power and security again. God promises that His presence will always be with us. Often, though, it doesn’t come in the way we expect it to.

Father, help us to always be on the lookout for your presence in our world. Help us to see it, even when it appears in a way that we don’t expect.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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