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  • Immanuel, God came down

I wrote this piece a few years ago, but thought it appropriate for this year. It wraps up Advent and the Creative Waiting series well. Merry Christmas!

Let's peel away the wrappings that clutter our Christmases. Sit with me and make space for this. Peel away this Christmas — the gifts, errands, work, disappointments, arguments… let them fall away. Peel away your disappointments connected with Christmas — that there is never enough rest, the hard relationships that don't change, the stress of the holiday and more… let them fall away too. Peel away the pain of Christmases past — the broken families, wounds that still hurt or expectations that went unmet. Peel away the consumerism — the presents, the tree, the lights, the parties, the fabricated joy and glad tidings of comfort. Let them fall. And finally, let's peel away the religion that's diluted and muddied the story over the years.

Now, come back with me to the stable. This is the turning point in history. Amidst the holly jolly we've lost the craziness of this moment we celebrate. God came down!

Enter the story and read Zechariah's encounter with Gabriel, the angel. He receives word in the Holy of Holies that he will have a son despite his age and that his son will herald the Son of God.

read Luke 1:5-25

What must it have been like to receive a glimpse of God's plan? To receive news that not only is Elizabeth having a baby (despite their age - no less), but that their baby would become the one to go before this Messiah that they had waited so long to see. God was coming to be with them! He carried that news for months in silence as the child grew in Elizabeth's womb. His unbelief left him speechless, literally. What was it like to wait to meet his son? This news was magnificent. It changed his life in more ways than one. I wonder what all shifted in Zechariah's heart and life as the significance of this moment seeped in.

Like Zechariah, we've been given new's of this Savior. Each year at this time, we anticipate Christ's coming again. Don't keep this story in the stable a long time ago. It was a silent and holy night. God came to be with us. This night was huge and it is huge still. It has implications that should move us to tears, yet the holly jolly has made us silent like Zechariah.

Let's not miss this. God imparts to human hearts… His coming glory that redeems souls, that tips the scales that cancels our debt. This Christmas we celebrate that generous occasion. Let's be overwhelmed. Be struck dumb. Be silent as this good news — glad tidings of great joy — covers our weary hearts. Rejoice! Rejoice! Born is the King.