“Why did Jesus come?” I asked our kids on the drive to church yesterday. Our son took a long time to arrive at his answer.
Eventually he responded, “because he wasn’t there.”
His simple, straight-forward conclusion has profoundly impacted me and left me pondering all day.
Jesus. Wasn’t. There.
There was no access to grace, to love, to friendship with God… because Jesus wasn’t there.
Humanity was groping through the spiritual darkness… because Jesus wasn’t there.
God allowed his creation to feel the weight of his silence, the longing in His absence, the sting of their own consequences… because Jesus wasn’t there.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:4-5
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2
I cannot imagine a world where Jesus was not there, arms open, invitation extended, knocking at the door.
But how often to I live my life unaware of His presence? His nearness?
What seems to be more present, more pressing, more there is busyness. To-do lists. Schedules full to the brim. Time and stuff and people to manage. All our attempts at flourishing fall short when Jesus isn’t there.
This year, I want my heart attentive to Immanuel: God with us. Because Jesus IS here!
I also want to share this gift with the people in my life. How many of my friends and family still live in a world where Jesus isn’t there?
How many are clinging to darkness when the gift of light and hope rests under the cross-tree on which Jesus hung in our place. Unaware of the Christ-child who became King, worthy of worship and gratitude.
Something keeps this gift at a distance, arms length maybe, or perhaps twenty-nine and a half foot pole distance. My heart aches with a grief that pounds loud sometimes for these, my loved ones without True hope. Because Jesus isn’t there.
How long, oh Lord, till they accept You?
On this Christmas morning, my contemplating, grieving, celebrating, joy-filled heart is still blessed. Because Jesus is here, carrying burdens, caring deeper than I ever could, and championing hearts even still as King and Savior.
Oh come let us adore Him. Immanuel.