Christmas: Up Close and Personal
I have a new favorite line in the Christmas carol, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.
It’s as if that ever so down-to-earth Charles Wesley was saying: Listen! Here’s what the angels want you to know! God LIKES (is pleased) to dwell among us. God likes being up close and personal with us. I thought of this because of something Luke Blaine (Worship Ministry Director at Calvary Littleton) wrote in a publication Denver Seminary sent me:
What Wesley writes here is profound, not only in its essence, but also in its implications. The miracle of the incarnation means that God is not indifferent towards you, me, or our world. The incarnation means God cares—that He is invested in us. It means He is a given and the greatest gift that He gives is Himself. In short the incarnation means that things between God and humanity just got incredibly personal. This is the furthest thing from dry or stale religion.
What we see here instead is intimacy, joy, and affection. The God of infinite highness came down, not because of begrudging duty, but because of pure pleasure. Don’t miss that! Notice that Wesley states that it pleases God to share Himself with His people. God actually delights in sharing Himself with you and me.
The author of Hebrews comments that it was “for the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2) that God gave Himself to us. This is who God is! He is a giver who relishes the thought of relationship—of giving Himself away. After all, He is our Immanuel. God is with us and glad to be with us!
All human beings long to be truly seen, to be truly heard. God does all of that and so much more of us: God with us!
Grace and peace,