Years ago, I was in a Latin American country for ministry meetings. We had a few hours free in the afternoon. I joined a friend for a walk through a local park. Our peaceful stroll was suddenly interrupted by five young men, two with rather imposing machetes. We were robbed, roughed up a bit, with our clothes torn and ripped. Later that night, I was alone in my room in the Catholic retreat center where we were staying. I prayed that God would protect me from nightmares as my body still shook from the trauma. By the way, this is a prayer our God of unfailing love answered, as to this day, I have never had a nightmare about this event. As I was falling asleep, I remembered thinking that I wished my father was with me. Funny, at that time I was a grown man with my own family but I wanted the comforting presence of my father.
I think our God of unfailing love understands that longing. It’s a longing He created in our hearts and provided for in the Christmas story. Immanuel–God with us (Isaiah 7:14)! I am blessed by good and godly parents, and I am eternally blessed by my Father in heaven.
As we enjoy this Advent season and prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas anew, I invite you to join with me as we try to unpack what it truly means to experience the adventures of life knowing that God is with us! Immanuel!
Father, thank you that in Christ we are never alone for You are with us! Teach us to live in the confidence of Your presence, to draw near to You and stay close, and to invite others to join with us in Your presence. Amen.