In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son,
and she will call His name Emmanuel.”
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows.
When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph,
before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son,
and they shall call His name Emmanuel,”
which translated means, “God with us.”
“… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ”
I can think of no greater gift to give you this year than the word “with.” We use it unsparingly, every day, with hardly a thought to its rich spiritual implication. Read the verses above again, pausing to consider each “with.”
For those of us who have been pregnant, the term “with child” holds special meaning. We understand a completely different depth of “with” than those who have not shared that experience. We know the awareness of a separate life inside of us, growing, moving. We are filled with an incredible wonder at the creation of life, and of being chosen to share in it. We become very sensitive to every little change, every indication that there really is another life deep within us. And we become very intimately attached to it and identified with it – “with child” is different than “with” anything or anybody else.
But apart from an isolated nine months here and there throughout our lives, “with” is primarily relegated to external, physical relationships. However, as in many other cases, there is a slang usage of the word that hints of a deeper meaning. For example, when we say, “I’m with you on that,” we are implying that we understand the other person, and even perhaps identify with them.
Before time began, from the farthest recesses of eternity past, before anything or anyone had been created, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit shared the wonder and completeness of fellowship, being at once One and with and within each other. While we can never fully comprehend what that means, we do know it was (and is) by far the most intimate, most complete, most satisfying relationship possible.
In God’s astounding plan of redemption, He has chosen to include us in this “with” relationship. First, He chose to be with Mary, indwelling her in a very physical way, and through her to become “Emmanuel, God with us. ”He understood and identified with His creation in the most intimate way possible – God became man.
Because He chose to be “with us” in the flesh, we can be “with Him” in the Spirit. While we certainly do not become deity, in some mysterious fashion we are included now in the circle of fellowship He shares within Himself. We are in Him and He is in us.
This Christmas, whether you are with friends and family or not, know this: Emmanuel, God with us, is the greatest gift of all. His present to you is His presence – with you for all time and eternity. May being with Him be your richest blessing. Merry Christmas!
The Incarnation… what a mystery! How could You, the One Who is transcendent – beyond, above, outside time and space… Creator God, God Almighty – become Your creation? But perhaps an even greater mystery than “how?” is “why?” Why would You lay aside the glory and honor of Your eternal position for the humiliation and degradation of physical life as a man? It is indeed a mystery – one that in this life I will never understand. But I do understand this… You came because You wanted to. You came to give me life — abundant, joyous, eternal life. You came as an expression of Your love, Your unfailing, never-ending, all-sufficient, glorious love for me. And that is why I celebrate Christmas – not for the gifts, not for the time off from work, not for the sake of tradition, not for the music and lights and emotions, but because You loved me enough to be with me. And I am eternally grateful.