Jesica Swanson: Christmas Means God With Us

mangerA few weeks ago I listened to one of my favorite speakers, Shauna Niequist, speak to her church. The series that she was a part of was titled “The God I Wish You Knew.” That title, so perfect. Especially here, in this season, the season where God said, “I don’t think they really know me – let’s go to them.” The season of Emmanuel – God with us, Christmas. You see, I don’t think the people could see clearly, and God had a plan of action – let’s go to them. It is obvious that there are times we see clearly either.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG)

Sometimes our vision is clouded by the fog. My fog grows heavy from past hurts inflicted by others or “the Church.” It grows thicker with disappointment in what I though God “should” do instead of what he did or didn’t do in a certain situation. The dullness that it brings does not dull the pain of loss or hard family dynamics. The fog settles in and soon even the twinkle of the bright lights is clouded over. My foggy faith has been so thick that I can’t even make out the outline of the cross from where I stand. But then I read these words…

Jesus answered: “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV)

It is easy to remove myself from the influence of The Almighty. To think He doesn’t care or He has forgotten about me. To think He is angry or disappointed in me. To think I am not worth His time. But, when I look at Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing     by taking the very nature of a servant,     being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,     he humbled himself     by becoming obedient to death—         even death on a cross!(Philippians 2:6-8 NIV).

This passage reconnects me to all the things Jesus did to reveal the character of God, to reveal Himself. He leaves the 99 for 1. He runs to meet the prodigal. He does not shame the woman at the well. He heals. He speaks life. He gives. He serves. He mourns. He sacrifices. He resurrects. He redeems. This is God. As we reflect on this baby in the manger, this story that is CRAZY, this faith that is hard, we realize he is the greatest gift. He is the greatest gift because he showed us who God is – HE is GOD. God WITH us. The fog begins to clear, through the light of his humility, his compassion, his patience, his hope and his love. It clears again and I can see HIM from the manger to the cross and I know that I can rest in His light. The light that can shine brightly and can warm my dark, cold heart on even the most difficult days – even if they come during the “happiest” time of year. Christmas is more that all the stuff. It is more than just that baby. It is God’s decision to bring His light, in flesh, to reveal to us the God HE wish we knew. What God do you know? Is it time to clear the fog? JesicaJesica Swanson currently serves as Coordinator at Bigfork MOPS. She is mother to Boden & Isley, and wife of Norse. You can find her random thoughts on spiritual life, marriage, motherhood, fun products, and whatever else pops into her head at http://www.atleastwecanlaugh.com.

header photo credit: Scott Schram via photopin cc

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