Here we are…smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season. For those of us of the Christian faith, it’s the time of the birth of our savior. A time when the God of the universe came to this earth in human form to be “with” us and to ultimately save us. This time of year marks the moment that God bridged the vast distance between the glorious heavens and an earthly realm bent on opposing all that is holy. What’s amazing about this is that God did not “need” to do this…nor did He “have” to do this…instead He did it because He loved us. For us it was the beginning of our chance at eternity.
Part of today’s scripture takes us to yet another pivotal moment in the destiny of humanity. Christ brings us to the foretelling of His death. He marks the time and summarizes His life embraced with humanity. He reflects back on His time here on the earth and gives it as a clear example of the path we all find ourselves on. He adamantly proves out that we will have sorrow in this world…that we will find tribulation breaching the hulls of our lives. But (and probably the largest interpretation of the word “but”)…He provides us with hope beyond the sorrow and tribulation. That these things must pass in order for Glory to become realized. (John 16:22) And not only that, but the tribulation we now face and have yet to face HAS BEEN OVERCOME! (John 16:33) The life of the Son in this world is coming to an end…all because of the love of the Father.
And while these passages deal with Christ’s life coming to end here on this earth…it also opens up to yet another glorious beginning. For as God sent His Son for us to die…Christ now sends the Holy Spirit to indwell us with power and guidance. (John 16:13-14) Oh how we so undeservingly were given a Helper to be “within” us and not just “near” us. For all who have accepted Christ, this gift of the Holy Spirit is the lifeblood we all have beating through our veins and powering our hearts.
Lord, let me find newness in your Son’s birth…thanksgiving in your Son’s death…and wisdom in your Spirit’s guidance.
The implications of the name “Immanuel” are both comforting and unsettling. Comforting, because He has come to share the danger as well as the drudgery of our everyday lives. He desires to weep with us and to wipe away our tears. And what seems most bizarre, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, longs to share in and to be the source of the laughter and the joy we all too rarely know.
~ Michael Card ~