I love people and deeply miss the connectedness that’s hard to have in the middle of a pandemic. I recently had a senior adult lady who I haven’t seen in months come by the church I pastor. My first comment to her was, “Ida, I’ve missed being WITH you so much I would almost hug you.” Her response, “I’ll let you.”
So this non-hugger hugged Ms. Ida just because he missed being WITH her. When our talk concluded, I literally cried when I prayed for her and then hugged her a second time. I guess I really did miss being WITH this sweet senior saint more than I recognized. It is a good thing to be WITH others; but it’s even better to be WITH God.
We find in Matthew 1:23 a prophetic word about Jesus: “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is WITH us.’”
Have you ever mediated on the glorious truth that God would love you and I enough to allow his son to leave heaven to be born where the animals stay so that God could be WITH us? Christmas is Christmas not because of the trees, or time with our families, or even the presents. Christmas is Christmas because God would love us enough to send his son to take on flesh to be WITH us.
He is God WITH us in the manger so that he can be God FOR us on the cross. He is God WITH us in the manger, and for all eternity Christians will be WITH their savior in heaven. Heaven is heaven because God is there WITH his people. Heaven is heaven because forever those who are saved will be in the presence of our glorious God. Forever we will be WITH King Jesus who loved us enough to be WITH us by becoming a helpless baby in a manger.
While hugging Jesus just doesn’t feel enough, falling on our face in adoration and worship definitely feels like the more appropriate response. May God bless you as you contemplate all that he has done to be WITH you so that you can be WITH him forever.
Sammy Simmons is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton and president of IBSA.