God With Us | John 1

Welcome to Real Life. Before he laid the foundations of the earth, God had you in mind!

The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents,
but in His presence!

We usually start a story at the beginning. For this reason, John doesn’t begin his Christmas story in Bethlehem. Instead, he takes us back to the very beginning, even before the dawn of creation. 

In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 
(John 1:1,14 NIV Emphasis mine) 

Jesus Christ is God! If we miss this, we will never fully embrace the miracle of Emmanuel. Our all-powerful God chose to inhabit the least powerful human form—a newborn babe.[1] An infant is completely dependent on others for survival. He or she cannot speak, eat, or move without assistance. But does an infant have no power? 

Does a baby do nothing? . . . Is it nothing that the baby opens such fountains of love in almost all the hearts around? Was not Jesus going to establish the reign of love in the earth? . . . He had to lay hold of the heart of the world; how could he do better than begin with his mother’s?  –George MacDonald[2]
God came gently, as a baby, to lay hold of our hearts. He wants us to know him, experience his love, and love him in return. Love is experienced through relationships.

To make a relationship with us possible, God humbled himself to be born as a baby so he could further humble himself and be born in our hearts—the hearts of ordinary, imperfect people like me and you. God came to be Emmanuel—God with us. Not just two thousand years ago, but this very day!

Relationships are built on common ground. Because our God put on flesh, when we’re tired and frustrated, he understands. When everyone wants something from us, he understands. When we need to escape to a quiet place, he understands. We can bring Jesus our tears and joys. And he gets us. For not only did he come to save us from our sins,[3] he came to be Emmanuel and heal our hearts with his love. 

Long before he laid the earth’s foundations, 
he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love 
to be made whole and holy by his love.” 
(Ephesians 1:4 MSG)

But will we let him be Emmanuel? I cannot force you to be my close friend. Jesus will not force us. It’s a choice. God is continually pursuing us with his love. Will we stop, let him catch us, and love us? God desires to be with us. Do we desire to be with him? In his presence is fullness of joy and pleasures at his right hand forevermore.[4]

“Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus! There is room in my heart for thee.”[5] Emmanuel—our God desires to be with us. This the miracle of Christmas!

[1] Image of Baby: My niece Jessika's newborn son, Cordel Tyler Phillips, Jr. 
[2] George MacDonald, The Seaboard Parish, 1868
[3] Matthew 1:21
[4] Psalm 16:11
[5] “Though Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown” by E.S. Elliot (1864)


  1. Thank you for sharing! No matter what Christmas looks like, what the "normal" is, Christ never changes. I love your point (and agree!) that babies melt our hearts. What a gift is it to know God would experience our world. Not because he needed to since he already knows everything, but so that we'd know him, and so that we'd know HE KNOWS our world. An infinite, omnipotent God already knew/knows what it's like to be us. But when he came as a baby, then we knew he knew. Haha. What a thought puzzle! You always give me much to think about...

    1. And your comments always give me something more to think about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kelly!


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