Immanuel – God’s Promise of Presence Fulfilled

Immanuel - God's Promise of Presence Fulfilled

O come, O come, Immanuel
O come, O come, Immanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Living in North-Central Alberta, it only fits that we prepare for Christmas during the darkest month of the year. As the days shorten, we long for summer evenings where we can stroll in soft sunlight. We wistfully remember awakening to bright sunshine streaming in our windows, no matter how early our days began. By mid-December, we arrive at work and school in darkness and it’s dark by the time we arrive at home.

December and January are particularly tricky for newcomers to Canada, especially those who arrive here from countries close to the equator. Most who come in the winter months are dismayed to find themselves in a land of seemingly constant darkness. It has brought me great joy over the years to bring good news to many of these newcomers. The sun will return, and it will shine brightly long into the evening hours when their homeland will be cloaked in darkness.

We Canadians only endure four months of shortened winter days, unlike the children of Israel who suffered through spiritual darkness for four hundred years. The generation who were born before the exile could tell their children first-hand accounts of the heady taste of freedom.  As time went on, however, subsequent generations relied upon on the stories passed down by their forefathers.  There were very few who still carried the hope of the coming Messiah, and even they could not imagine living in the true freedom and light that God had promised them. And yet, that remnant clung on to their faith, trusting in the prophecy, trusting that the light would one day return. Immanuel would make his appearance.

Immanuel – God’s Promise of Presence Fulfilled

In Luke 2, we read of two of those faithful ones who saw their longing fulfilled in the infant brought to the temple for dedication by Joseph and Mary.  Immanuel had come! I can only imagine the joy and delight that overwhelmed them as they saw with their own eyes the answer to the prayers of the faithful few.

As Anna and Simeon were both elderly, they probably did not live to see the fulfilment of Jesus’ messianic mission, but they died knowing their Redeemer had come.

Genesis 1: 3-4 – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

John 1: 1-4 – “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Personal Application

If you are in a season of personal darkness, reach out to  Immanuel, who came in the flesh to free his people. Invite his light to fill your heart. Allow that light to overcome the shadows of hopelessness and resignation that cling onto you.

If you are weary of waiting for his promises to come to fruition, read the autobiographies and testimonies of others who remained faithful as they waited for their breakthrough. What God did for them, he will do for you, as long as you stay faithful.

On a practical note, consider purchasing a SAD lamp if you live in a Northern climate. Seasonal Affected Depression is a real thing, and these lamps are life-savers. The price of these lamps has significantly lowered since they were first introduced. You can purchase one on Amazon for quite a reasonable price; there are many available for under 50.00.  Caution: read the reviews before buying a lamp and don’t go for the cheapest; they are the cheapest for a reason.

When you are tempted to sit alone in the darkness, turn on some lights in your house! Don’t rely on your TV screen or the blue light of your device to pull you out of the blues.

Make sure you are taking vitamin D3 and if you are able, take advantage of sunny days, even if it is cold outside!

Be brave and reach out to someone directly, don’t just post a social media post and expect others to pick up on the vague clue in a Meme that you are going through a rough season.  Remember, you are not a mind reader, and neither are your friends or family members.

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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.

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Until Next Week,

©2019 Katherine Walden

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