I love Christmas. I love everything about it! The hustle and bustle, the parties, the family, the food, the gifts, the celebration of our precious Savior King’s birth. I love candlelight services at church, spice-filled holiday beverages, seeing old friends, happy music at every turn … I mean, I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.
I think what I love most, though, is the nearness.
The feeling of being close to loved ones, even those who are geographically out of reach. The joy of being in the room with friends who heal the soul. The sense that those who have gone on to heaven before us are still with us in so many ways—near to us.
And God with us.
The most undignified entrance of the most glorified King. The God of the universe coming near to humanity to change the course of our eternal destiny. I love the nearness.
I imagine a bewildered, yet strangely-at-peace young Mary holding Jesus’ tiny, newborn cheek up to hers. I can almost smell his newness mingled with the hay. I imagine a relieved, yet anxious young Joseph gazing at his heavenly Son and wondering how this could really be happening. Lacking in understanding, but reveling in His nearness.
I imagine how the cosmos and the spirit realm rippled at His birth like the waves of a nuclear blast—nothing would ever be the same because of His nearness.
This season, wherever you find yourself, God is near. He broke through the limitations of time and space to forever open His arms to you. What sin did to separate us from Him at the Fall, Jesus trumped with His life, death and resurrection. God Himself, wrapped in a human baby, came here to be near to you. He was not willing for any of us to perish, but that every one of us would find life and salvation through Him.
Have you ever opened your heart to Him? If you do, He will come in. He is not angry with you! He just wants to be near to you. Emmanuel, God with us.
If you want to open your heart and receive Jesus, all you have to do is talk to Him. Something like this, or in your own words: “Jesus, I receive You as my Savior. I ask You to wash away my sin and give me a new life through the cleansing of Your blood. I give myself to You, and humbly ask You to come in and fill me up. I choose to follow You and let You be Lord of my life. Thank You for saving me.”
Have you received Him before? Why not receive Him in a new way this Christmas? Let Him come in and be near! His up-close-and-personal presence will transform your life, and all you have to do is open up and give Him permission to enter. That difficulty you keep all to yourself? Invite Him in. The secret that has plagued you for so many years? Ask Him in. The hurt that just won’t go away? Unlock the door for Him. He will heal you in those places and make you new.
“Lord Jesus, I receive You into the places I have kept away from You for so long. I now invite You in. Come heal me, put things in order, show me Your truth about who I am. I trust You to change me and break down the walls I have built up. I need You, and I want You to be near—in every area of my life.”
Emmanuel, God with us, is the Everlasting God who longs to be near. And more than just near—to commune intimately with you, His beloved. He values you above all else and aches for the intertwining of your heart with His. All His thoughts toward you are loving and kind, and He wants to translate the fullness of His life into your reality. Let this be the Christmas season you let Him in!