For many, the holiday season is filled with family gatherings, special activities, and memory-making. But for countless others… it’s not. This time of year can be a painful reminder of what we don’t have.
We are confronted with the reality of broken relationships, loved ones who have passed on, and perhaps disillusionment about what is, as opposed to what “should” be. We may feel disappointed… left out… alone.
Whether isolated or surrounded by people, anyone can experience loneliness at times. This feeling that we are ultimately on our own in the world – that no one understands – that no one cares.
Thankfully, nothing could be further from the Truth.
Matthew 1:22-23 introduces Truth’s entrance to our world: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel – which means, ‘God with us.’”
Yes. God humbled Himself to become human…WITH US.
The God-child Jesus grew and lived and walked among us. He taught us and challenged us and modeled what real love actually looks like. He was WITH US.
But Immanuel only resided on earth for 33 short years. Then after His death and resurrection, He only stayed approximately 40 days more. Did Jesus cease to be Immanuel – God WITH US – after that?
No, Jesus’ time on earth was really just a prelude to the long-term relationship He intended with each one of us. He tried to prepare His followers for His earthly absence and eternal presence, but of course it was a difficult promise to grasp for the mere human.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” (John 14:18-20)
“…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Immanuel had no intention of abandoning His loved ones. He knew that in order to actually take up residence in their (our) hearts, He would have to leave His earthly body and return in spirit. This is how the Holy Spirit (also known as “The Spirit of Truth”) comes to live inside each one who surrenders their heart to Jesus – Immanuel – the One who is always WITH US.
For me, this Truth changes everything. When I feel alone, misunderstood, or abandoned… the Spirit of Truth tells me I’m not. Immanuel reminds me, “I am with you always.” He reminds me when I’m missing my sister in heaven. When I’m feeling like no one “gets” me. When I’m wishing my family lived closer. When I don’t know who I can talk to. When there are people all around me, but I still feel lonely. He whispers, “I am in you… I am always with you…”
The glorious Truth of Immanuel – God WITH US – is that we are never, ever alone. In fact, the Spirit of Truth within demonstrates just the opposite. We are always together – we are fully known – we are perfectly loved.