Advent is known in the Church calendar as a period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a four-week period before Christmas, and is, for those of us who profess to love Him, a time to be reminded that the One who came to earth from heaven as a helpless baby 2,000 years ago will come again as the long-awaited King of kings and Lord of lords.
Just now, life for most people is hustle and bustle – no time to be still, too many things to do, not enough money to go round, no time to think, too busy to go to church, so we can settle for watching online later. It is so easy for Christians to become overwhelmed and trapped in the materialistic world around us.
The real message of the Advent season is all about reflecting on how we can prepare our hearts to celebrate with joy the birth of our Saviour in the world as it is today. He is Immanuel – God with us. He never changes. His love reaches out to every individual, every city and every nation. He rises to show compassion to those who will receive Him. Do you need to slow down and say “No” to the things that distract you from Jesus, and say “Yes” to the gift God wants you to experience?
Life can be hard at times. You may not understand the things happening in your life and family just now. Imagine how Joseph must have felt when, in a dream, an angel spoke the words of our text for today, telling him to take Mary, who was pregnant and unmarried, to be his wife. The consequences could be serious, but he obeyed and became part of God’s eternal plan.
Immanuel – God is with us - overflowing with unfailing love. He is Saviour. That is why they called Him Jesus. “For He will save His people from their sins.” No sin is too big for Him to forgive. He pours out grace upon grace. He is healer of all our brokenness – physical, emotional, and spiritual. He binds up those who are broken-hearted and gives them back their lives with a new hope instead of despair. Immanuel is the Prince of Peace. His peace is a legacy to all who will receive it. Even if we go through the darkest valley, His peace will be sufficient to carry us through. Because Immanuel is always with us, we are never alone. All He asks of each one of us is the love of our cold hearts, fanned into a flame of obedience by the Holy Spirit.
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