Emmanuel is my favorite and chosen name for Christ. The word Emmanuel has been the word that I have claimed during this season of Advent, although it might be more truthful to say that this is the word that has claimed me.
2021 has been a difficult year. For me, it has been a year of deep loss, pain, and letting go. I know that many of you have also walked through difficult days, and if you are like me, you have looked for something meaningful to hold on to. When I felt like so many things were taken away from me, I needed to know that something remained and what has remained is God. God with me - Emmanuel.
"When we choose to see God as God-with-us, we enter into a new relationship of intimacy with God." Nouwen
What I have learned in this season is that we need someone to come on our behalf - someone to make us whole again. God comes to us with the promise that we are not forsaken. We are found. We are loved. The coming of Christ teaches us that God is not distant from us, nor is God distant from our pain. Henri Nouwen says, "When we choose to see God as God-with-us, we enter into a new relationship of intimacy with God." That intimacy means that God is near to us in every way.
God has been coming for us since the beginning. Remember all of the times that God came to God's people: in the garden, in the wilderness, in a burning bush, in a fiery furnace, at a well, walking upon the water, and in a manger. History is full of stories of God coming to us.
The coming of God is a gift, and our job is to make space - a sanctuary for God to enter. In this space, we hold God, and God holds us. Sufferings, doubts, and losses will come. It is inevitable, but these sufferings lead to emptying. Our souls become more open to Christ and to the love that Christ brings to us.
There have been days when my soul felt empty, but in my stillness, I have felt God holding me...coming to me. God is Emmanuel. God is with us. God is with me. God is with you.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. —John 1:14