Key Thought: The promise of Christmas is that God came to earth. God is not remote or aloof. He comes near into the turbulence of life. Messiness does not repel our loving Father. He interjects His very self into our private tears and international scars. In the midst of all this turmoil is this simple gift- Immanuel, God with us. And Matthew begins (Matthew 1:22) and ends (Matthew 28:20) with the promise of God’s presence.
- One way to experience God’s presence:
- “I really felt the Lord’s presence in the service today”
- “God really showed up at Church today”
- “God provided a medical miracle right when we needed one”’
- “I see the presence of God in the face of my grandchildren”
But God also shows up in hard places. In the Christmas story in Matthew’s gospel we see several occasions where God shows up in the most trying of circumstances.
- God shows up when we are embarrassed by the uncontrollable (Matthew 1:18-25)
- God shows up when we are greatly troubled by the unforeseen (Matthew 2:13-15)
- God shows up when we are searching for answers (Matthew 2:1-2)
In each of these circumstances there was a dependence on God’s revelation in some form:
- General Revelation
- Specific Revelation
The promise of God’s presence is not just a cute saying for a coffee mug. God’s presence is the undergirding steel of our confidence during the fiercest of storms (Romans 8:38-39)
Reflect for a moment. Have you ever: (check all that apply)
- felt embarrassed by my circumstances
- felt troubled by unforeseen events
- felt curious in my search for God
Here is how God’s presence worked inside the local church
Acts 18:9-10 (NIV)
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
If you want to experience God’s presence then be with God’s people who are sharing God’s message in a way that honors God Son.
Main Verses: (Matthew 1 and Luke 2)