The weather sure has been different this year. It seems that last year by this time we had much more snow. In fact, one of our Christmas traditions is to keep a lit manger scene outside our home in the yard. I remember last year baby Jesus got buried under the snow. One evening my brother stopped by the house and it was snowing terribly. There had been much accumulation and our conversation went something like this:
My brother said, “It has snowed so much that Jesus is buried.” Without hesitating, my youngest son Chandler replied, “Don’t worry, in three days he will come out!”
We all shared a good laugh, but then I recognized that I was grateful for the reminder that Chandler gave to us that night. He understood that the same Jesus, the babe we see in the manger at Christmas, is also our risen Savior and Conquering King Jesus.
Sometimes it’s easy for many to only view Jesus as a sweet baby in a manger. Perhaps it’s more difficult to view him as the savior of the world. When he came to this earth as a babe, he did not look much like royalty. Growing up, he didn’t seem to act much like other kings known in those days. And from our view, it appears that the way he suffered and died on the cross is certainly not a fitting end for a king.
But the story does not end there. Thank God the story doesn’t end there. Jesus, the God man, the conquering king, is alive and well still today.
There are times in our lives when Jesus’ presence may be more difficult to see and even harder to believe. But he is present. The prophet Isaiah had said his name will be called “Immanuel.” We know that Immanuel interpreted means “God is with us.” God is always with us. (“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23 NLT.) Christmastime is a great reminder of his loving, constant presence with us.
I have experienced some seasons in life when the weather is cold and God’s presence seems to be hidden or buried. Have you experienced that in your own life? I have learned that if I will keep believing in God’s faithfulness during those bitter seasons of life, before long I will see sweet reminders of God’s presence in my life again. Truly, he had been there all along although current conditions seemed to veil him from me.
Celebrating Christmas reminds us that God is near. You can put your trust in him today. “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT
As we transition from 2017 to 2018, let me encourage you that God is with us. The baby we just celebrated this past Monday, is also the risen, conquering king, that will accompany us through every season of 2018.
Scott Lee is the lead pastor with the Bethesda Worship Center.