All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel”, which means, “God is with us.”
As the days of Advent draw us closer to Christmas I think about these words of the prophet Isaiah and how they were shared with Joseph, Mary’s husband to be.
The angel shared these words of assurance to Joseph so he would know that the child to be born to Mary was the Son of God. As I think back over various periods of my life I have also been reassured by these words.
When I was a child growing up on the farm. My Dad borrowed money to buy seeds to plant each year’s crops. Then when harvest time came he paid back the loan to the bank, and there was always enough to make our way until the next planting season. God was with us.
When I went away to college, I depended on scholarship funds to pay for my schooling, because my parents did not have the money for my tuition, room and board, and I had a job in the college dining hall which helped. I knew without a doubt that God was with me.
When I got married, I taught school and my husband worked part time and went to college. God was with us.
When God called me to be a pastor in parish ministry, I quit teaching at the university and went to seminary, and my husband lost his job with the company he had worked for twenty years, but we made it because God was with us every step of the way.
Every period of my life has been a time when I have been assured that God was with me.
Jesus said, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)
So take a deep breath and let the Holy Spirit of Jesus calm your wearied nerves, so you can wait with patience and peace to celebrate the birth of God coming into our world.
Take time to reflect on your life and see where God has been with you and is with you now. Feeling the presence of God with you will calm the anxiety of waiting for Christmas to arrive and help us put reality into the place of the hustle and bustle of the usual preparations.
- When was a time when you knew that God was with you in the midst of uncertainty?
- What gives you the assurance that God is with you right now?
- What helps you to sense the presence of God each day of your life?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.