Confession 263: Emmanuel

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.  For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.  Isaiah 9:2-7
I put in my first Christmas CD of the season the cold Monday morning after Thanksgiving.  It was the soundtrack from The Nativity Story.  As I listened to the songs about the birth of the Savior, I felt something awakening in me once more, blossoming from deep within my soul.  It was the hope, the anticipation, the expectation that this Christmas season brings.  
Christmas reminds me that regardless of the awful things happening around the world, in spite of the havoc human beings wreck, no matter the struggles I or loved ones have faced this year—Emmanuel is here.  God is with us.  And no matter the darkness in which we walk, he is bringing with him the light that cannot be extinguished.
Emmanuel is here.  New life has come.  The things of this world that bind us, that worry us, that consume us, that enslave us have been smashed to pieces.  We don’t have to look for solace or help in food, in drink, in shopping or the Internet.  We don’t have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders or our backs.  God is with us, and in his love and in his mercy he has brought freedom for our souls.
Emmanuel is here.  A new kingdom has come.  This kingdom cannot be toppled by any human force or act of nature.  God is with us.  God dwells among us.  God dwells within us.  He will never leave us, nor will he forsake us.
Emmanuel is here.  Do you feel him?  Do you sense his wonderful presence?  Is there hope and anticipation and expectation blooming in your soul?  
If so, will you share that with others this season?  Will you remind those walking in the darkness of poverty, of grief, of sickness that God is with them?  Will you share the burdens of those who are hungry, lonely, or worried?  Will you seek to bring freedom to those who are oppressed?  Will you show those around you that a new kingdom has come—a kingdom that cannot be boxed and wrapped and placed beneath a tree?
Emmanuel is here.  Where are you?
Blessings and Peace,