God Is Here

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December 24, 2019

Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

CONSIDER THIS

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for throughout our Advent journey. 
This is the moment that changes everything. 
It’s finally here; it’s finally now. 

All of creation has waited for this moment. The mountains and the oceans and the animals and the trees have long been looking for the Creator, longing to see him enter the world that he spoke into being, to redeem it from the inside out. 

Every barren place, every war-torn village, every mistreated daughter, every starving child has also been longing for him to come. Ever since there was such a thing as death and murder and injustice, the cries have gone up from the ground for the Holy One to come and breathe healing upon our desolate soil. 

And now, suddenly, we are here. 
We have come to the moment that all eyes have been straining to see. 
In this moment, in this Christ-child, the favor of God rests like a warm blanket upon our weary world. 

He’s just a little baby; he’s just a yawning, hungry child. 
And yet, at the same time, he is the hope of all the nations, he is the healer of the leper and of everyone who is diseased, he is the Beloved who shares the love of his Father with you and me, he is the reason for our joy, he is the hope in our suffering, he is our promise as we wait, he is our Savior, born to us. 

He is our God, and in him, our God is here. 

Everything that I’ve been sharing this month about God being with us, about our identities as the Beloved, about our being filled with all the fullness of God…it is all possible and it is all true because of this moment that we quietly and reverently approach today. 

The scene of the mother and child instinctively brings a hush upon our spirits. 
We walk into the stable with the shepherds, softly and carefully, 
finding a place to kneel near the baby in the manger. 

His hands are held in tiny fists, his eyes awake and wide. 
We lean over the manger with all of creation 
and gaze at the one we have been waiting for.
He truly does look just like one of us.
He is one of us.

But the knowledge that he is not just one of us confounds our understanding. 
That God would allow himself to be here, as this vulnerable child . . .
how can we possibly grasp this mystery? 
We look up at Mary and share a knowing smile
of wordless gratitude and awe.

We know that this is a moment to cry, Holy, holy, holy, 
and yet we are too overwhelmed to speak, 
we are too overwhelmed to praise. 

Here is the face of God, 
resting in the manger of our world, 
having come so far to answer our prayers,
having stooped so low to respond to our cries. 

We no longer need to fear. 
We no longer need to hide in the dark.

A word is spoken over our lives today 
that will reverberate throughout the centuries into the future, 
all the way into distant eternity. 

It is the word of God’s favor,
God’s blessing,
God’s love. 

This Word is the God-child Jesus.
He is the Word of favor spoken over us,
the blessing that rests upon our lives, 
the Let there be light that re-creates us
gloriously anew. 

May you know in the depths of your soul
that this Word, this child, this God 
comes for you today. 

He comes to receive your brokenness as his own.
He comes to bless you as the Beloved of the Father.
He comes to show you the face of God.

Unto us a child is born.

God is here.

THE PRAYER

Jesus, be born in me today.
May I see you as come for me.

Spirit of God, breathe upon me.

THE QUESTION

  • How do you need to encounter the Christ-child today?

Casey Culbreth

Song for Meditation:

For Unto Us a Child is Born by Handel’s Messiah

Here Comes Heaven by Elevation Worship

Spotify Playlist for Advent Daily Text

P.S. – Have you enjoyed following along with this Advent series by Casey Culbreth? You can pre-order your copy of the book from our store now! Releases Fall 2020.

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Casey Page Culbreth is a worship pastor at Grace Church in Cape Coral, Florida. She loves exploring different countries, gardening, hanging out at bookstores and movie theaters, and enjoying coffee with friends. You can follow Casey on Instagram @caseypageculbreth, visit her blog at ByCloudandFire.com, or learn about her worship ministry at caseypage.com.

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