Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23
His presence in the room was obvious. Everyone else was dressed rather formally. He had on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a weathered baseball cap. I couldn’t help but notice him as I addressed students that day in a seminary chapel in Bucharest, Romania. I have no idea why he didn’t conform to the norms of seminary attire, but I do remember his name.
At the close of the meeting he came up to introduce himself. When I asked him his name, he answered, “Immanuel.” I was surprised by his answer and asked if he knew what that meant; he unashamedly replied, “Yes—‘God with us!’”
I’ve often thought about that young man and how he stood out in the crowd. Just as Jesus came to bring the presence of God into our world—“Immanuel . . . God with us” (Matt. 1:23)—so too we are called to bring His presence into our world. Jesus made that clear when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).
This Christmas, we can give the gift of God’s likeness through us. When our lives reflect the God who lives in us, we can be different from the world, and that difference can bless others with the transforming presence of His love and grace. —Joe Stowell
His Spirit fill my hungering soul,
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus.
—Thomas Chisholm © Renewal 1973. Lillenas Publishing
The gift of God’s presence through you is your gift to the world.
Bible in a year: Nahum 1-3; Revelation 14