I am stunned by the truth that God chose to dwell with us on this groaning earth. I don’t think any of us will ever fully grasp why He chose such pain and suffering this side of heaven . . . all for us! We read scriptures and sing songs about His “withness” at Christmas to the point of taking it for granted.
“For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given” . . . Isaiah 9:6
“The virgin will conceive
and give birth to a son,
and they will call Him Immanuel”
(which means “God with us”) . . . Matthew 1:23
God. WITH. Us.
What would we have done if He hadn’t come for us?
We just spent Christmas week with Rick’s parents in Nebraska. Dad Dunagan was in the hospital recovering from a hip fracture in the midst of Parkinson’s disease. It was heart wrenching to see our very active, independent, man’s man, patriarch of the Dunagan clan suddenly so weak in a hospital bed, fighting pneumonia. His beloved wife of sixty-two years, Roselan, rarely left his side.
Her nearness brought him comfort and peace and was such a picture of the nearness of our God. And my husband—their second of four sons—also stayed close; sleeping several nights on a cot by his father’s hospital bed. All of his sons have been keeping a watchful eye over him.
As I see these loved ones caring for the grandfather of my children, I can’t help but see Jesus in them. It is such a picture of His loving care for us. His “never leave us nor forsake us” presence, even if we aren’t aware that He is there.
This was a different Christmas from the many joyful Dunagan holidays; typically filled with Norwegian lefse, laughter, and opening presents by the fireside. But I have to say the “broken hallelujah” of being with family in the midst of pain was just as beautiful, just as sacred.
This year I’ve tried to read through a One Year Bible and stuck with it most days, except when February’s reading of Leviticus lost me. During this last week of 2016, I couldn’t help but linger in today’s reading of the first few verses of Revelation, chapter 21. This is our hope and our future! THIS is why He came for us . . .
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
“God himself will be with them . . .”
God with us. Immanuel!