The God Who is With Us

It's soon to be the Christmas season. Already, as you drive about and, no doubt, as some of you have already hit the shopping malls, Christmas music is already playing. We have three stations on TV that are already playing Christmas music. And on the Hallmark stations, the only movies playing are Christmas movies. So we can't get around it. Christmas is here upon us.

But what does that mean? The making of shopping lists for the whole family? The planning of the family get together, deciding who is going to bring what? And don't forget your decorations. You can't have Christmas without decorations. We at least have our Christmas tree up. Now if I can just figure out what light switch goes where and what to do if the lights don't work, I'll have it made.

Christmas is all this, but it's so much more. Christmas is about the birth of the "God who is with us." Of course, I'm talking about the birth of the Savior, who is Jesus Christ the Lord. His name means, "Jehovah is Salvation". "Jesus" is a derivation of "Joshua", and just as Joshua of the Old Testament brought Israel into the Promised Land, so does Jesus bring us into the promised land of God's great and eternal salvation. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). But Christmas is also about the birth of the Savior, who would be called "Immanuel", or, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was born on this earth so that He could be the "with us-God", the One who would walk with us not only on the mountaintops, but also through the valleys and into the dark places that look dim and unpromising. Yet, He came to be such a God, a God who would walk by our side no matter what the situation we found ourselves in.

One Christmas Eve, in 1909, a young seminary student moved his belongings into a tiny house in the dirtiest, smelliest, most crowded slum in Kobe, Japan. He had decided that he would never really understand the people of the slums unless he lived with them. And they would never believe his Christian preaching unless he identified with them. His name was Toyohiko Kagawa. It wasn't long before he had taken in several homeless and starving men. He soon rented two more houses so he could help more needy people. The little children of the slums loved him. Kagawa spend his whole adult life helping the poor and oppressed in his country. No sacrifice was too great to make. Soon, many came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. But it would have never happened unless Toyohiko had moved in among them.

But, you see, that's exactly what Jesus did. He came not only to be our Savior, but to be our "with us God" to whom we could turn in times of need. I wonder if you know this "with us God"? You can, if you will just invite Him into your heart to forgive you of your sins. I know He will do this if you just ask Him. Would you make this Christmas the best Christmas ever by trusting in the "God who is with us" to be your Lord and Savior?

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