Since about August, I've been a part of the Saturday night worship team at our church. Humbled that the Lord allows me to help lead His church in songs to bring glory, honor and praise before Him. This past Saturday as the team was finishing the worship set, we led the church in a last song, Emmanuel (God With Us). I could barely hold my emotions in check. The word "Emmanuel" came to take a whole new meaning for me last Christmas and singing the words brought a fresh wave of rememberance. Emmanuel-God with us. Jesus with us. With you. With me.
In every way, 2013 was quite a year. In early May we rejoiced with finding out we were pregnant. By mid-summer we had numerous complications and doctors visits which led to the knowledge of knowing one of two babies did not survive in the first trimester. Of the surviving twin, our doctor in Houston said the baby was quite the fighter. Soon after being cleared from high risk in my pregnancy we followed where the Lord was leading our family to the Dallas area. That fall and winter I celebrated the life growing inside of me yet also grieved the life that would never be here on earth. How do you grieve yet rejoice? God knows how. During last Christmas in the midst of such emotions, He atuned my heart to the word Emmanuel---God with us. With you. With me.
He reminded me what Mary might have felt with a growing miracle inside her. Rejoicing in God's miracle, yet fully knowing and grieving what the price of saving mankind would take one day. Jesus, laying down all rights of heavenly glory to put on flesh as a human. To dwell among men. To be tempted. Rejected. Misunderstood. Facing sin, yet not succumbed to it. The One who never submitted to sins seduction, having all mankind sins' weight and death burdened on His shoulders on the Cross at Calvary. Facing death, He conquered it and rose again to life. Now seated in heaven being our perfect sacrifice that we may accept and believe in Him for a restored relationship with God. Because of Emmanuel, Jesus with us, we have the hope of eternity with our God. We have the hope not only in our eternity but with His presence in our daily life. God with us. With us in the pain. With us in the beautiful. With us in the loss. With us in the miracle. Emmanuel-God with us. Jesus with us. With you. With me.
Because of Christmas we rejoice in Emmanuel, God with us. Because of the cross we rejoice in Messiah, God saves us. Because of Christ Jesus we rejoice in Him, God redeems us.
In a few days we get the honor of celebrating our little Vivian's first Christmas. How much joy she has brought us can not even be described. Yet even now, tears escape as I think of Vivian's twin brother or sister celebrating their Christmas not with us but in the presence of our Savior and Lord. There honestly is no better Christmas for that little one. How beautiful that because of Emmanuel, God is with us. Jesus with us. With you dear child. With me.