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Devotional: God With Us

God With Us Devo Pic

To help you and your family celebrate this season of Advent, we have included a scripture reading and a song with this devotional. We suggest reading the scripture before the devotional and singing the song after reading both. 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

 

 

God With Us

I love that Thanksgiving precedes Christmas. It seems like the perfect prelude to the season of celebrating our gratitude and thanks for the birth of our savior. I usually enter into the Christmas season with thanksgiving in my heart and an abundance of joy for the countless ways the Lord has blessed me and continues to work in my life. But every year, somewhere along the way I get distracted. I wrestle with stress, exhaustion, and burn-out from the holiday busyness and expectations, and by the time Christmas Eve is upon me, I am far away from dwelling in thankfulness for the precious gift of the birth of Jesus Christ.

As Pastor Barry preached this past Sunday, I was struck by something in the story of how this world came to know sin. When the serpent came to Eve, she was in the garden. The Lord was also in the garden, but she did not call upon Him. She allowed herself to become distracted by the deception of the serpent and in doing so, she shifted her focus away from God and onto herself. Pastor Barry explained that Eve’s doubt of God’s goodness led her to mistrust Him. He went on to say that when we fail to trust the Lord, we put ourselves on God’s throne and take the place of Him as the ruler of our lives. We turn inward and look to ourselves, disregarding the presence of God.

In Genesis 3:1, Satan says to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (ESV) What was striking to me about this question is how quickly it caused Eve to doubt the Lord. To me, the logical response to the serpent’s question would have been to seek the Lord for affirmation and assurance. But Eve succumbed to the doubt the serpent sowed without turning to her loving Father for help. It almost makes me angry. The Lord was with her in the garden; all she needed to do was call to Him! But then I remember how easily my heart tends to doubt and grow selfish when I am confronted with the lies of Satan.

The distractions and busyness that come along with the Christmas season can be used by the enemy just as effectively as his question to Eve in the garden so long ago. But also, like Eve in the garden, God is with you and me. He is with us and He longs for us to call upon Him when we are in need. It is so beautiful to me that the reason we celebrate Christmas is the reason that God is with us. Because of Jesus Christ, we are no longer separated from Him, but have fellowship with Him here and now. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23, ESV) Jesus Christ was born so that you and I would know the love of God through a restored relationship, established by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, that would enable us to be with Him for eternity.

As I have already begun to battle the stress and anticipation that this time of year brings, I find myself wholly convicted by my lack of readiness to turn to the Lord. Like Eve, I have slipped into selfishness and doubt. But praise be to God for the powerful message that was preached this past Sunday and for the reminder that He is with us and longs for us to turn to Him instead of turning inward. Friends, this year as we prepare for the Christmas season and celebrate the birth of our savior, may we not forget the sacrifice that Christ made so that we could be with our heavenly father, not only in eternity, but here and now. God loved each and every one of you so much that He paid the ultimate price to be with you. Join me in praying that He would give us hearts that love Him that much in return and that this season of Advent, we would find ourselves not distracted by selfishness, but dwelling in fellowship with Him giving thanks for His abundant grace and love.

 

 Photo Credit: Gabby Tyson