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Sunday, December 6, 2015

The God Who Is Not Just There

Every so often, I look at something that I’ve known my whole life, and see it differently. That’s part of the joy of living as a human, to realize there’s always something new to see and learn. This year as I’m listening to the Christmas music, and enjoying all the beautiful lyrics, I noticed a common theme that I've glossed over before. It was this line that first jumped out at me and got me thinking:

“Come to earth to taste our sadness…[1]

When tragedy strikes, or you just wake up grumpy, knowing you’re going to need grace to get you through the day without chewing someone’s head off, one of the only comforts is to know that God is not only there, but that He sympathizes. In the horrible times, or our off-days, or the instances of great happiness where we just want someone to know how glad we are, we don’t just want a God who is there. We want a God who knows what it is to be here.

Because of Christmas, the Christian Christ sympathizes with His people.

When Christ was born, He came out crying; confused, cold, probably terrified. He came with the sensation all new babies seem to arrive with, “What is happening to me?!”  Those were His first moments as Emanuel. Jesus Christ knows what it is to cry. He knows what it is to have frustrating siblings. To be hungry. To be tired from a long trip. To have a friend die.

Because Jesus came down, at Christmas time, He is not just a God who is there. Up there somewhere above our earth looking down at all of us strange little things down here. No matter how good, or benevolent, a divinity might be ‘up there’ it would never fulfill all of what we want and need in a God. Nor is he is a life force, imbuing the air, water, and earth all around us, but entirely incapable of understanding our personal individuality. Jesus is one of us. He was born. Here, on this dirty old earth. Assaulted even by sleepless nights that caused grumpy days; but He navigated them without sin. He was loved, betrayed, laughed at, laughed with, tired, refreshed, angered, delighted, amazed… Christ knows what we have raging and delighting inside of us. We have a God who sympathizes. We come to Him in our trials and He has the entirely unique ability to tell His children exactly what we need to hear:

“I know, beloved, I’ve been there; behave yourself anyway, I’ll help.”

[1] “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley

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