God says he is present. That’s why Jesus is called Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’.
If God is with us, why do bad things happen? Horrible things like a war, a tsunami, hurricane Katrina, a sudden job loss, incurable illness, or a divorce happen every day.
In comfort-loving America we think if God is really with me, then I’ll be shielded from trouble. But this is not what the Bible teaches. The event of the first Christmas shows us that God does not prevent hardships from coming to his chosen people. Bad things do happen to good people.
Look at the first Christmas when Jesus came into the world. There was political unrest – an oppressive Roman regime was taxing the people to death. A teenage couple far from home was jostled among strangers tired and hungry. There was no room in the inn. A young woman was in severe labor pains with no doctor or midwife nearby or even a bed to lie down on. Instead, she gives birth in a stable.
God did not shield Mary and Joseph, the chosen couple, from hardships. The first Christmas was anything but perfect by our standards of comfort and ease. As Christians we’ll have our share of trouble. Jesus promised us this: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
No matter what is going on around us, God’s name is still Immanuel. Immanuel: God with us–always.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas, as you celebrate the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. To Christ be all the glory this Christmas season. What a great Saviour we serve!