Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 19, 2016

Matthew 1:23 - Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

 

December is tough for a lot of us. Time moves too quickly in this month. We feel like we’re letting everyone down – too busy to see friends, too tired to speak kindly to family members, too exhausted to give 100% in school as finals hang over our heads.

 

December means holidays, and holidays mean seeing friends and family members, some who we may not be particularly excited to see. There’s bitterness and hurt. There’s a lot of holding our tongue and praying for patience. And for many of us, these holidays show us just what we’re missing: that empty seat at the table that belonged to our loved one, our family living in another state, our brother who just graduated from college and moved away.  

 

And then for others, life is just plain tough, December or not. We’re struggling with friends. We’re fighting with our parents. We feel alone. We’re just treading water, trying to keep our heads up.

 

If any of this resonates with you in anyway, may I offer a word?

 

You do not walk alone.

 

Emmanuel means God is with us. And He is. He is with you each and every day as you walk this path.

 

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

 

He’s not going to leave you alone, even when you can’t make sense of it and even when you can’t feel Him. That’s what Advent reminds us: there’s hope. We’re not left as orphans to struggle through this life alone. God sends us Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. And Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit, while He goes to create a home for us. Because the truth of the matter is: this is not our home.

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

 

So take that breath. Lift up your head. Smile. This is not your home. We’re just travelers passing through. And He’s right next to you. You do not walk alone.

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