I was reading Matthew 5:41 from where we get the expression “go the extra mile” — “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.”
It got me thinking about the theme of “Emmanuel, God with us.” God with us brings so much extra that transcends our little worlds, that gives us something more.
What if “going the extra mile” is more than what we can do for someone else? Yes, there is always that. Going the extra the mile is good when serving someone... even someone demanding (as is the Matthew, “Sermon on the Mount” context). But perhaps in reality, it ends up benefiting the one doing the going (aka, serving)?
Going the extra mile serves to offer a new perspective. It creates the space to consider that something more, beyond my little bubble. To experience a broader scope — someone else’s reality. And God gave us an example by coming to dwell in ours.
Emmanuel, left his throne to give us a home forever with him. And isn’t that really why we “go the extra mile” in the first place? Because he is with us in every step along the way?
So going the extra mile can be a gift to the one who goes. It can give empathy, which leads to to compassion. The kind of compassion that loves like Emmanuel. And that kind of love changes everything.
So this Christmas season when you find yourself serving others, perhaps carrying their gear that extra mile… consider the gift you are receiving in doing so. And consider the One with you as you go.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14a, NLT)
God with us. How many times have we heard that phrase? Do we truly understand the profound meaning of it? God sent Jesus, his Son, into the world in bodily form to walk with humanity, to be with us. I can’t fathom the idea of sending one of my five sons to a world that would reject him and kill him, let alone my ONLY son. That is how much God loves us and wants to be with us!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“…and they shall call his name Immanuel.” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23
I’ve never been to heaven, but I can imagine if I had been, I would never want to leave. Not only did Jesus leave heaven to be with us, but he came to be like us; to talk with us, have feelings like we do, taste food, be tempted, and share in our humanity in every way possible, apart from sinning. He walked in our shoes so he could meet us face to face and demonstrate the love of God to us. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords left his throne in heaven for a manger bed in a stinky stable- to be with us!
A song we frequently sing in church has been stuck in my head the last few weeks. It’s possible the reason it’s stuck there reveals itself in the first sentence of the chorus- “God with us, God for us.” This theme has weaved its way throughout my life lately.
Chorus of “God with Us” by Jesus Culture
“God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us
God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us”
In his book, “Practicing the Presence of God.” Brother Lawrence tells of his quest to live life focused on God’s presence. It has caused me to question daily whether I am keeping the same practice. Life can so easily distract me from God. To “practice” his presence takes deliberate actions; seeking him, talking to him, and turning back to him when I’ve been carried away by other thoughts and other things.
At Christmas time, perhaps more than any other time of year, we have a special opportunity to reset our focus. While we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we can deliberately begin, or continue, practicing the presence of God throughout the hours of each day. He is here, he is working, and he promised to never leave us.
“…behold, I am with you always, to end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
That fills me with great hope, how about you?
Merry Christmas women of Cold Springs Church! It is the month of Our Savior’s birth so the writing team has decided to write about Christmas. Tonight, we kick off the season with “Evening of Inspiration” with the theme: Immanuel. So, I want to kick off the month to tell you a story about Immanuel with me. 😊
A Scripture, A Memorial and A Promise…
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
On November 13th, my younger sister passed away. I reached out to others for support and received much love, condolences and prayer. Prayer. There were over 30 people praying for me and my family and this was the result…
My niece generously gave up her wedding venue for her mom’s memorial – providing a beautiful space.
Family members who were at odds, put them aside to grieve together.
There was an overwhelming feeling of being in a restful “space”.
There was room for everyone to grieve in whatever way was needed.
And everyone remembered the “best” about my sister.
Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving and that it was better that He leave because He was sending His Spirit…
Immanuel, the miracle of Christmas is God sending His Son, Jesus, doing the finished work of restoring our relationship to God, and The Spirit, being sent in His place, to lead us, comfort us, and empower us.
And my sister’s memorial is a beautiful testament of this. Thank you for your prayers.
May God Bless you all with a Very Immauel Christmas!