Advent devotional: O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Psalm 80
Isaiah 7:10-15
Matthew 1:18-23

I love reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to my children. And sometimes, when I am reading it to them, I have to stop and marvel.

In describing the birth of Jesus, Sally Lloyd Jones writes: “The God who flung planets into space and kept them whirling around and around, the God who made the universe with just a word, the one who could do anything at all — was making himself small. And coming down … as a baby.”

These simple words describe the beauty of the incarnation. An all-powerful Creator abandoning heaven to draw near to us and coming in the humblest of ways — as a baby.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (1:15-16)

Jesus was present at creation. He created all things seen and unseen. And he continues to be present in all of creation, making himself known to us in it.

Eugene Peterson puts it this way: “Look around at creation, at all things visible and invisible: our lives and the lives around us; the visible world of people, animals, houses and food; and the invisible world of thoughts and emotions, ideas and feelings. We must look at all this created world and realize that Christ is in it.”

Jesus first came to us in the most normal of ways – birth – in a normal stable in a normal, small town. And as we await His physical return, Jesus still comes to us in the normal stuff of His creation. He is Emmanuel — God with us. In sunshine and snow, in forests and deserts, in cathedrals and our kitchen, in friendships and strained relationships, in our joy and our pain, in our prayers and our shooting the breeze. O Emmanuel, open our eyes to the wonder of Christ in all creation.
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