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He’s Coming Toward Us Now

By Jodi Thomas

He’s Coming Toward Us NowRight this very second I have several friends facing the darkest of circumstances. One friend’s brother—a 51-year old gas and oil executive—caught West Nile after Hurricane Harvey, and not only has he been in the hospital for six weeks unable to speak or move, but more than likely will be a quadriplegic, if he survives. Another friend’s husband has been fighting melanoma for five years and is currently spending three weeks in Houston undergoing massive radiation to his brain for 25 metastases. They have three kids. My dad’s wife is currently fighting for her life in the ICU for an infection in her blood. I could go on. And I know you could, too. Then on top of all of our personal crises, we have the never-ending tragedies surfacing across the globe—shootings, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, racial hatred, human trafficking, impending nuclear war. And now it’s time to celebrate Christmas? Really? The darkness of these sad circumstances makes it hard for me to get excited about Santa, Frosty, and Rudolf. Do you relate, at all?

We need some Light. Some Hope. Some Joy. I am reminded of the song, “Oh Come, O Come Emmanuel,” by David Crowder, who did a retake on the classic hymn. Read these words and see if they resonate equally today.

O come o come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of God appears

Oh come thou day-spring come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Oh come desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad divisions cease
And be thyself our king of peace

Two thousand years ago, I promise you there was no less darkness, no less pain, no less trauma. Rome had a stranglehold on freedom; crosses with bodies hanging on them peppered the landscape of Israel. This hymn is the expression of their longing for a deliverer. And God, looking in on this dark and beautiful planet, sent His only Son to be born as a baby to a poor, young teenager engaged to a young carpenter. God sent love, light, and perfection into this dark, broken planet.

And to me, that is the beauty of Christmas. That no matter how oppressive, how crushing, how difficult life may be at the present moment, God’s light and love is bigger and brighter. The babe that pierced the darkness 2,000 years ago is still piercing the darkness today, infusing our hearts with His light, hope, peace, joy, and love.

The song ends with these lyrics:

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel

He’s coming towards us now
He’s coming towards us now
He’s coming towards us now
He always will

Do you see those last words in the song? He’s coming towards us now. . . He always will. This is the story of Christmas. Not that we moved towards God, but that He moved towards us. . . in Christ. Offering His greatest gift. . . in Christ. 1 John 4:10 says: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

And this is the beauty of Christmas. . . that No matter the darkness, no matter the yuck, Christ always moves toward us. His name is Emmanuel—God With Us. This is what we can rejoice in—that God moves towards with His love and pierces our darkness with His light.

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that no matter the difficult circumstance that encroaches upon you, may you know Emmanuel, the God that is with you, bringing you the hope, peace, joy, light and love that you—that we all—long for.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

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