Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What it means to worship Immanuel--God with us

Immanuel--In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Immanuel--The Word became flesh.
Immanuel--God with us.
Immanuel--God. With. Me.
I have to catch my breath.
I have to stop and let my heart, my being, soak in this Truth. Soak in The Truth.
I sing songs with these words every Christmas. But it is today, right now, that my soul demands I stop, slow down, and feel what this means. My soul begs of me that I be still and know Immanuel.

Who am I that God would make Himself like me--that He would put on skin and clank around in bones, that He would opt for a heart that pumps blood through thin-walled veins and wounds that can bleed red and deep and scar deeper.
That He would choose to dwell among us.
That He would choose to dwell within us.
What would that be like?
How would that feel for the God of ALL CREATION to humble Himself and be like us:
to walk on dirt, to hunger and thirst, to be tempted, to go without?

What would it be like for the God who placed each single star into all the galaxies and all the universes and named them all to bring Himself low and become a Servant to the very ones He created?
What would it be like for the Ruler of the Heavens to suffer from fatigue and boredom and worry and sadness and sorrow?
My mind, my heart cannot fathom the love that all this requires.
I. am. simply. humbled.
I am brought up short.
I am caught in all this wonder and caught up in all this awe of such a God.
A God who didn't have to do any of it.
A God who was worthy of all our praise and all our worship without any of this.
But who chose to do all of it.
Who chose to walk the hardest road so that we might have One to follow.
Who chose to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we wouldn't have to.
To do this...God became a BABY.
A. Baby.
I remember my babies.
Helpless. Vulnerable. Beautiful. Weak. Dependent. Colicky. Cranky. Hard. Wonderful.
Yep. He became one of those babies.

God, the All Powerful, was a Baby. Born to a single, teenage mom.
I'm baffled. I'm humbled.
He put on flesh. He made Himself NEED. The God who made all things, Creator of heaven and Earth, in one moment became needy. He needed care and nurturing and love. He made Himself vulnerable and helpless and weak.
I have to sit in all this love for a minute. I need to let the Truth seep into my pores and deep into the cracks and crevices of a heart jaded by the jingling of Christmas bells and the bustle of the mall and the wrapping of presents and the busyness of this season.
I need to hold this Baby, God incarnate, Holiness with skin on, tight.
I need to rest a minute because this is IT:  A wee babe who was born in a barn far from home and wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a re-purposed feeding trough, this is my Savior. 
Stop and wallow in this Truth--doesn't it bring you to your knees, doesn't it make your heart LONG to know the heart of this God who would become so low because He loves us so much?
Advent is all about waiting for the Savior.
Shouldn't the expectant birth of a baby take on new expectancy in light of all this wondrous love?
Because how can this NOT change me?
How can I not be moved and shattered and speechless when I grasp what it means for God to choose this kind of entrance into a harsh, unforgiving, dark world?

He chose to be like us because He chose us to love.
He chose us to redeem.
He chooses us. Still.
And despite my lack and my ugly and my unremarkable-ness in light of His magnificence--
He chooses to love me. 
He chose to have a heart that could be broken.
He chose to clothe himself with fragility that could be wounded.
He chose to be weak, so that in Him we could be made strong.
He chose to be made humble, so we might understand His sacrifice.
He chose to live a human, mortal life so that we could live an eternal life.
He chose to be all that we are, and yet still be wholly divine, worthy of our adoration.
He chose to be a baby.
Into the stillness, a baby will be born.
Into the darkness, a light will shine.
Into the waiting, salvation comes.
And we wait in awe and wonder and expectation for Jesus--
for Immanuel--
God. With. Us.
grace always rises,

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