Monday, December 21, 2009


There's been one word that has been in my head more than any other during this Christmas season.

The word is EMMANUEL.

It's quite possible the reason for this is since I went to see Mercy Me and they sang the song "Emmanuel, God With Us," I've sung it with them at least 962 times.

But, it's also possible, and probable, that the reason the word and the name, EMMANUEL, is ringing in my head here in the last month of the year, is that it has been my anchor.

It has been my anchor, my lifeline, even when I didn't realize it.

This has been a hard year.

A year, even though filled with blessing after blessing, that is one I'd just soon forget. I don't really want to give 2009 anymore than I've already given it, but I will say that it's been a year where my past has caught up with me. A year where I chose to walk much of it in darkness.

A year where loneliness has been the theme.

I'm smiling as I think about how this is so like God. So much like Him that after eleven months of singing one song, when hope is fading, He gives me another song to sing.

A new song.


I'm reminded that God is truly The Redeemer.

Even The Redeemer of what I would like to forget.

I'm not sure I would be singing this song. . . His song, if it had not been for the last eleven months.

I'm not sure I would have even heard it.

The song kind of goes like this. . .

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . . when it's dark and I can't see.

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . . when I'm sure that one more thing, just one, is going to be the one that does me in.

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . . when, at 4 am the "what-ifs" overwhelm me and they take my breath away.

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . . when I come face to face with all the things I've spent a lifetime hiding.

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . .when I hold out my hand to Him and open it slowly and ask, "Can you really redeem this?"

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . . when I'm tired of the conflict of "doing what I don't want to do and not doing what I want to do."

EMMANUEL, GOD WITH ME . . .when I can't see the tears He's crying for me because I'm blinded by my own.



In it all.


As I've heard His name, EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US, I've also heard something Jesus said to his disciples that they didn't understand.

It's obvious that when I decided the theme of 2009 was loneliness, that what I once understood, I had forgotten.

It's from John 16.

"But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, "Where are You going?" But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you." v.5-7

The message for me this Christmas is that . . .

God came.

God left.

So God could stay.

To be with me.

To live in me.

To be my Emmanuel.

God With Me.

"Behold, the virgin will bear a Son,
and they shall call His name, Emmanuel,

which is translated,
God is with us."

Matthew 1:23

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