We are enjoying a wonderful Christmas celebration with all our family (21) at Gullbotn. The house is filled with joy and harmony. The grandchildren are happily playing together. It is a great joy to observe them having a good time together. The adults are also enjoying themselves and having a lot of fun. According to our Norwegian custom we put all the presents under and around the tree and on Christmas Eve the grandchildren were reading the to and from greeting, and distributing the presents. Then we all watch the present being opened, thanks and hugs are exchanged, and we all rejoice with one another. This Christmas Eve we started early as we were 21 people together and it took six hours to distribute all the gifts!
The big family celebration with gifts and traditional food is a great event that especially all the children look forward to. But Christmas is much more than a few days of joyful celebration. Actually we should celebrate the reality of Christmas every day all through the year. The central message of Christmas is Immanuel - God with us. The incarnation is a historic fact. God became flesh and blood. He became one of us. He became a human being. That is a miracle of Love which we don't fully comprehend. But certainly it needs to be celebrated.
Every day we wake up we need to remind our selves of the fact of Immanuel. God with us. God for us. God among us. Christ in us the hope of glory. We are not alone in this world. We are not left to ourselves. We are not abandoned. We don't have to struggle with the challenges of life on our own.
God is with us. Even in our darkest hour when we seem to be totally on our own, he is there. When everything seem to be hopeless, when we are face to face with the impossible, he is there. When we rejoice in our achievements, when we seem to succeed, he is there. He is always near. He is always with us. His name is Immanuel!
Many times I have felt alone. Often I have felt like being totally on my own, and it is a very scary feeling. But actually I was never alone. He was always there. He was always with me. Even when I could not see him or his finger in the things happeneing to me, he was still there. I found refuge in him in the storms of life. I found comfort in him in times of loss. I found strenght in him when I had no strength of my own.
Over the years in my walk with God I have come to a confident rest in Immanuel - God with us. It is not only God with me, it is always God with us. It helps me to see Him among my brothers and sisters in the covenant community.