Rediscovering the Christmas Season – Day 10: Immanuel
See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”
~ Matthew 1:23
The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
~ John 1:14
Jesus is still “God with us” even though He’s not walking on earth right now. We have His Holy Spirit indwelling us – taking up residence in our flesh.
That concept just amazes me.
The very Spirit of God is present with me – in me – at all times to give me His strength and His comfort and His peace.
All I have to do to feel His Presence is to let Him fill me with His Presence.
Easier said than done.
But how do I do that? How do I let Him fill me with His Presence? I’ve always heard – over and over – people say that so-and-so is “filled with the Holy Spirit” or that you should “listen to the Spirit” or that “the Holy Spirit” guided them.
And I wondered what was wrong with me that I never felt or heard or sensed the Holy Spirit in me. I mean, I was saved, right? So what was the deal? Why didn’t I “feel” the Holy Spirit living in me?
I started reading Francis Chan’s Forgotten God over the summer when I was desperately seeking God’s face and guidance. In all the craziness of life, I kind of stopped halfway through and never finished. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it’s an e-book, and I never remember to read it since I don’t see it laying around. The subtitle of the book is “Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.”
And I think we (both the big “C” Church and churches in general) have neglected the Holy Spirit. I know I have. We talk about God (Father) and Jesus (Son) all the time, but we kind of just tack on the Holy Spirit here and there like an afterthought.
I don’t think we fully grasp (at least I haven’t) that the Holy Spirit isn’t just an aspect of God – like holiness or love – that He transfers to us, but that the Holy Spirit IS God Himself in the exact way that Jesus is God Himself. Just as Jesus and the Father are One, the Holy Spirit is also One. The Holy Spirit is I AM just as much as the Father and the Son.
We refer to the Holy Spirit as “God’s Spirit,” and I think that makes us subconsciously think of It as a possession of God, or a manifestation of God, or personality trait of God. Just like our finite minds separate God the Father and Jesus the Son into two separate entities, even though they aren’t. But they really are. But they’re not really. But they are really. And now I have a migraine.
It’s one of God’s mysteries that we just will never comprehend because it defies all logic.
That’s why it’s easier to swallow “God’s Spirit lives inside me” than “God lives inside me.” But that is exactly what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
19 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
This isn’t the same as God being for us. That is a concept I have clung to this year, as well. Meditating on the truth that God is for me. But someone can be FOR you without actually being present WITH you. You can cheer for a team without being on the team or ever even physically being present at a game.
But to realize that God is both FOR me and ever present WITH me – regardless of what I do – is life-changing. To realize that He truly will never leave me or forsake me, that He will always be present with me, that He chose to bind Himself to me for all eternity, and that He can’t go back on His Word?
That’s worth a Hallelujah chorus this Christmas.
I think it’s time for me to finish that book.
I’m linking up with Thorns and Gold to share Advent/Christmas posts this month.