Emmanuel Our God: Happy Christmas 2020

Author: Andy Drozdziak, CCR Web Editor

Picture: Andy Drozdziak

Emmanuel Our God: Happy Christmas 2020

Through the pain and difficulties of Covid-19 in 2020, God is still with us-and He's as loving as He ever was, says Andy Drozdziak. Happy Christmas!

Who would have thought 2020 would turn out this way?

It is no exaggeration to refer to this year as a “game-changer”, and life will never be the same. There have been unexpected and devastating deaths, long periods of absence from work, sporadic and ongoing lockdowns, not to mention the mental health issues experienced by so many-especially young people.

As disciples of Jesus, we know that God is a God of surprises who blesses and challenges us to grow in faith, love and hope.

As we read in Isaiah 55: 8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We Need To Know That God Is With Us

We are told that names are highly significant in scripture.

The name “Emmanuel”, meaning “God with us” has struck me this year. It is a name we associate with the infant Christ at Christmas. However, this year, perhaps more than ever, we have needed to know deep within that God is truly with us at all  times-in the mess, in the covid wards and in our loneliness.

One aspect of our humanity which has become apparent is our vulnerability. Perhaps, with many scientific and technological advances, we believed we were invincible, yet the effects of the pandemic have shown us that we are not immune to sickness or death.

At the heart of our experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit is our encounter with Jesus, our Emmanuel, recognising that God is with us and alive; that the living God loves us and wants to be involved in our lives.

This means sharing in the moments of happiness and joys. This also means that He is with us in the storms and the trials. He is with us in the pain and the sorrow and in the disappointments.

We also recognise that God never changes. Jesus was with us before the pandemic. He has been with us every step of the way, during the pandemic. And He will be with us when the pandemic is over. He will not leave or forsake us, as He is utterly faithful: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Now Is The Time

Speaking personally, I was devastated earlier this year when a dear friend died suddenly of natural causes at the tender age of 41.

It was a shock and a real life-changing moment. My friend was so full of life-giving energy and joy, which impacted so many people through her deep faith in Jesus.

This pushed me to evaluate my life, my faith and my attitude.

I became aware of a laziness and reluctance within me to say “yes” to God. I am slowly learning, by God’s grace, that “Now is the time” as St Paul says. There is only the present moment to live, to risk and to make a difference-safe in the knowledge that, whatever happens, God, our Emmanuel, is with us. He is calling me, like Mary, to say "yes" to His will.

He will never fail us or abandon us. I have had to cling to these words many times this year, recognising that God is still God and He will not change. Through these trials, I have experienced the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.

So I pray that you will have a blessed Christmas, however different it may be this year.

I pray that you will not be afraid, and know and experience the love of God the Father, the sweet presence of the Infant Christ and the ongoing personal power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

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