There are certain people whose company we desire. We love it when they spend time with us. On the contrary, it’s not such a pleasant experience to be with others. We tolerate them, but it’s difficult to have them with us.
My children fall into that first category. I love spending time with all four of them and their spouses. And my grandchildren are a delight. Well, except when they’re fighting. And holding the great-grandbabies . . . now that’s a treasured time, to say the least.
Sometimes I bemoan the fact that most of my best friends are far away. My husband is my best friend, so his presence is very dear. But other “best friends” live in Florida, New York, South Carolina, Ohio, California, Rhode Island. Well, you get the picture. Needless to say, I don’t get to spend much time with them, although computers and telephones help some.
My favorite name for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”) God, who had lived in heaven and dwelt in the tabernacle and the temple in Old Testament times, was suddenly a physical presence on earth. A baby to hold. A man to follow.
The Message puts John’s words in an interesting way: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish” (John 1:14). God wants to be with us. So much so that He sent His Son to live and die among us. Because He rose again, defeating death, He made it possible for us to live forever with Him. Have you embraced all that He is and given your life to Him in gratitude?
Even though Jesus is in heaven now, He is still with us because of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. One of Jesus’ last statements was “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). We don’t have to plead with Him to be with us. He is with us in our joys and in our sorrows. He is with us in every life experience, including death. My friend, who just said “Good-bye” to her dear husband, told me the beautiful story of God being with her and orchestrating every moment, even with a beautiful song playing in the background as he went to be with the Lord.
Aren’t you thankful today for God’s presence with us? Is He Emmanuel to you?