Advent | This is our God, our Immanuel

"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Immanuel (which means, God with us)." –Matthew 1:23 (ESV)

It’s such a fragile scene: Joseph and Mary, miles from their family and friends, giving birth to the King of kings in the quiet stable. It’s mind-blowing to think that God, our Creator, would choose to become human. But to enter mankind in this way? There were no trumpets sounding, no flashes of light. No fireworks, singing or drums. No doctors or midwives. No carefully crafted Instagram post. Just a tiny baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, sleeping in a manger.

As I reflect this year on our Savior’s birth, I am humbled by God’s love. God’s order is so different from the world’s. Scripture is filled with evidence of these contradictions – the last shall be first (Matthew 19:30); when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10); there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). Our world idolizes the wealthy, wise and strong, but God favors the poor, the humble and the weak.

I think this is what drew me to Buckner 10 years ago and kept me there for so long. God is near the brokenhearted. I have spent many hours on the floor of an orphanage, cradling babies with disabilities and hugging children who have been neglected and forgotten. I often left sad and confused. Why these children? Why, God, is this your plan? And earlier this year, when my own infant daughter was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare, incurable disease, I was left numb and bewildered once again at the outward injustice of it all. But in God’s loving kindness, he whispers to me: “My way is different from the world’s. Trust me. I love you. My ways are better than yours.”

So this year, more than any other in my life, Christmas is that reminder. Things are not as they seem. A baby boy, whose cries pierced the night sky, is the God of the universe. Jesus, the name above all names, makes
all things new again. Our Christmas baby and our God. He is here! So let’s shout and cry, singing praises to our King. He was here, and he is here, still.

Immanuel, God with us!

Jenny Pope served with Buckner International for 10 years in the Communications Department. She and her husband, Chris, live in Texas, where she is now full-time mom to Miller, 3, and Emmeline, 8 months.

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