Some people say that if you know then it shouldn't be this painful. Others say that you know you've truly loved a place when it pains you to leave. I'm definitely in the latter group.
So, I'm very thankful for the Christmas season, not just because people tend to act like better, more thoughtful human beings during this time (not always...), but more importantly because I am encouraged to shift my focus from self and struggle (which I should be doing anyway) to the reason I celebrate Christmas.
This year, I think I appreciate it even more. I've been dwelling on the name Emmanuel/Immanuel for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes, it is so overwhelming to consider that "God is with us." Not just that He came to earth to offer us salvation, that in and of itself is bewildering, but that He is with us and that He dwells in us. I am a filthy, sinful person, but because of His "Lavish" Grace (Check it out here!) I have been made clean and He dwells in me! That's incredible. The perfect, holy God, whose righteousness is without fault lives in me! I always fail, I always sin, I always make the wrong choice. I love accolades, I am prideful and I neglect my relationship with Him. Yet, He lives in me. Not only that, but He loves me. It's more than I can ever comprehend.
The name Emmanuel means God with us. God's chosen people knew who the Messiah was supposed to be. The knew He was coming to save His people, yet I don't think they quite understood. I'm sure they were confused when the Messiah came as a child, born of virgin. How could something so small, so helpless save them? How could something so small, so helpless save us?
We sing Christmas songs that reflect His birth and remind us of why He came. Yet, I think that often times we get caught up in the lights, trees, and presents and forget why we are celebrating in the first place.
This year, my thoughts are on Immanuel and I'm choosing to turn my eyes to this reminder: God is with us, He is the hope of the nations, He is the director of my life and though change is on its way, He is with me and no matter where I go and no matter what the next step is, He is right there. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Without Him, I am nothing. Without Him, I will fail. With Him my life has purpose and I find peace in that.
If you read this far... Thanks. Please be in prayer for me amidst this change. I don't do it well.
Here are some songs to remind you about Emmanuel: Enjoy!