Believe – to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so; to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
‘Tis the season…you’ve seen the signs, posters, and plaques sprinkled with glitter: Believe, they say. Some stand alone forcing one to stare, perhaps questioningly, at the cuteness while others are adorned with the jolly face of a white-bearded old man dressed in red. A few contain snow and dancing fairies…or are they elves? Not sure. But each bear the command to believe.
In what shall we believe, I wonder? That the always laughing Santa is real? That he brings a sleigh of presents to children in Aleppo as well as Manhattan? That pixie dusted fairies (or elves) exist to wave a wand of joy over the local children’s hospital or the nursing home of forgotten seniors, as well as upper middle-class children? Or that Christmas wishes come true for the families where the breadwinner lost his/her job three or five or eight years ago? Should we have confidence that the season of goodwill and joy itself will bring wars to an end – both in our streets and abroad – and grow love in the hearts of men and women toward one another?
I mean, seriously, the hoopla cranks up before Halloween, so it seems there would be plenty of time to get ourselves into all the ha-ha-ha and fa-la-la if it is just about believing in the Christmas season to bring love and joy and peace on earth, right? Drink hot cocoa, listen to the carols, decorate the tree, maybe even attend a Christmas Eve service, and believe.
How did that work for you last Christmas? Did you believe then, in whatever it is the retailers of the Christmas season titillated you with to believe?
Or did you come away empty?…your soul still longing and feeling robbed?
Immanuel – God. With. Us. God walking by my side every moment of every day, never leaving, never taking a coffee break, never sleeping, never walking away when I mess up or yell or get angry or miss an opportunity to share His love or think He has failed me, or know that I have failed Him…again.
Immanuel – God. With. Us. God, who allowed Himself to be tightly compressed within the confines of a woman’s womb, experience the grueling process of birth, feel the hunger of a newborn, learn to crawl, and stumble and skin His knee and walk and run. God, who minimized His great power, limited Himself inside a frail, weak human body learned to work, be hurt, humbled, even humiliated.
Immanuel – God. With. Us. The great and mighty God, Yahweh, I AM, a name considered too sacred to be uttered by the Hebrews, allowed Himself to be tortured beyond recognition, as though He was worse than the most horrific criminal imaginable. He allowed Himself to be mocked, denied by His closest friends, spat upon, mocked again, then murdered – a slow, agonizing death
So that He could be with me. So that He could be with you. So that He could be Immanuel.
Now, my friends, this is someone I can believe in, but it’s more than believing, isn’t it? James said, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” (ESV)
Immanuel gives me a firm foundation for my faith…I know that sounds like a sermon, but I’m also reminded of the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street”, when the little girl is riding in the car saying, unconvincingly, “I believe, I believe; it’s silly, but I believe.”
That is how so many of us find ourselves, perhaps unconsciously, living our lives as Christians. Without the foundational belief that Jehovah, the God of all creation is with us, (as He declares throughout His Word), we are paupers. Without this assurance, as Brennan Manning once said, and I paraphrase, ‘We would be like travel agents selling trips to places we’ve never been.’ What kind of god would abandon his children in a time of need? Not Immanuel!
It is a vital tenet of our faith to believe and trust in Immanuel, the God Who is with us each moment, each millisecond of our lives. The God who will never leave us or forsake us…no matter the season, no matter our circumstances, (Deut.31:6; Matt. 28:20, NIV).
Yes, I believe.
**Hey friends, if you are being blessed or strengthened in your faith by what you are reading here, I’m going to ask that you ‘follow’ me on the blog home page. You will then be notified via email each time I post. Also, I’m trying to ‘up’ my readership and possibly publish on other blog pages. Just testing the waters…thanks very much for reading and sharing my journey of faith and life with me. I appreciate you!** DS