I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galations 2:20
I’m acutely aware of my desire for the presence of Jesus every Christmas. The doctrine of the incarnation lays siege to my hopes. God draws near and is with us. Near to us. Experiences life and a broken world with us. Profound love and awe for God rises out of me when I think of God humbling himself in order to know laughter and weeping and salty tears and jumping and hangnails and gratitude and charred fish and sand in his sandals. That God would take all that on because of his deep love for humanity – for me, astounds me.
Christmas reminds me of that.
Christmas reorients my hope in Emmanuel, God with us.
Christmas creates this desire in me to be near to Jesus in new ways.
But for a lot of people, Christmas is difficult. It is time of year when hearts ache for the love ones who are no longer with us. It is the pain of broken families who no longer for us. It is the reminder of a world not as it should be.
And Jesus feel anything but near.
Emmanuel? With us?
I can’t help but wonder if maybe my overly selfish desire to experience the nearness of Jesus during the Christmas season isn’t contributing to the wonder of so many about the God’s with us. It is hard to say that one could be too concerned with being near Jesus, but I wonder, “Am I so concerned with being close to Jesus that I neglect the Christ in me who wants to be near those who are hurting?”
Every Sunday, as I prepare to preach, I end my prayer before the sermon with “Even so, Come Lord Jesus.”
Christmas reminds us, that Christ has come. Advent points us backwards while at the same time pulling us into the expectant hope of future’s consummation. God once again, with us.
What I have forgotten is that, while Christ has physically left, his Spirit remains in me. In you. You and I, brother and sister, are the body of Christ. You and I, sister and brother, are temples of the Spirit of Christ. You and I, brother and sister, can take Christ to those who need him most.
Maybe this Christmas, while we hope that Jesus would be near to us, we ensure that he would be near to another. Wrap your arms around the hurting. Hold those who need holding. Weep with those who need to know they are not alone. Rejoice with those who have not learned how to rejoice. Be Christ. Let him rule in you.
If I let Christ rule in me, and you let Christ rule in you, then maybe this Christmas we’ll see Jesus with us like never before.