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Christmas isn’t just about a baby being born, it’s about God revealing his truest nature and character!

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Read Hebrews 1:1-4

Since the dawn of creation, humanity has strived to define God. Different cultures, throughout the ages, suggest various ideas about what God is like. The Hebrew people, even with their Scriptures, struggled to get a complete picture of the divine. At times, they believe God to be angry and vindictive toward his creation. At other times, they describe God as being longsuffering and steadfast in his love. New Testament writers say, “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities.” The Torah, or Old Testament law, was a shadow of a reality yet to come. No wonder the ancients had a hard time understanding what God was like; they only had a shadow, not a complete picture.

However, as New Covenant believers, we get the whole picture, and we have the privilege of knowing God in a complete sense. The Scriptures make this clear in Hebrews 1:3, stating, “[God’s] Son… is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” The author of Hebrews claims that we have the fullest picture of God in Jesus. Jesus is what God is like. And, Jesus doesn’t come to appease God, he comes to reveal God. From behind all of the shadows, all of the partial pictures, and all of the mysteries, emerges Jesus. Christmas isn’t just about a baby being born, it’s about God revealing his truest nature and character!

If it’s true, as the Scriptures state, that God is like Jesus, then what do we learn about the nature of God from this revelation? We learn God hears the cry of his people and longs to rescue all of humanity. Matthew’s gospel describes the birth of Jesus by writing, She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:21-23). Jesus comes born as a baby in the corner of a powerful empire to be ‘with us.’ Heaven hears because Jesus is God with us. Jesus is God with us in our pain and our joy. He is God with us in celebration and sorrow. He is God with us in faith and doubt. When we think about God, the gift of Jesus means God is not distant. We have the utmost confidence that God remains ‘with’ his creation, and we can express the deepest longings of our soul, knowing heaven hears.

As you enter the last week of Advent, listen once more to the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Pay attention to the the repetition of the name Emmanuel and contemplate what is looks like to live the “with-God” life.

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By Ryan Paulson

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