This is a busy time, so I want to keep this week simple, and I hope to hear from many of you. How, in simple or big ways, has He been “Emmanuel” to you?
One of my favorite carols is the simple praise chorus:
Our Lord is called Emmanuel
God with us
Revealed in us
Our Lord is called Emmanuel.
I love the video on U-tube that is simply called: Immanuel: Songs of Praise. The faces of the children are wonderful.
Love to each of you this holy week. Please share how He has been Emmanuel to you. How have you sensed HIs provision, His presence, His power? Share every day if you like!
God has shown me that He is Emmanuel because the fact that there IS Christmas, that He did come to earth to save us, far supercedes any plans we make to celebrate the holiday. Whether you are lonely or surrounded by loved ones, in a good or bad situation in life, He is with us, He is here. He IS Christmas.
Tracy — what a perfect way to start us off. Thank you! Always so glad to hear from you.
God with us.
This week I drove from Kansas City to the thumb of Wisconsin, feeling a bit of trepidation as I’ve had to call Triple AAA three times in the last few months to start my car — and the car dealer hasn’t been able to figure out the problem. But even with the temperature dropping to single digits, it has started each morning.
I left my cell phone in Panera but as I was leaving they announced it in the parking lot over the loud speaker and I knew it was mine. My long steep driveway had been plowed and sanded by a dear man. Though there were mice,e I have these new mousetraps where you don’t have to see or touch the mouse and after one night they are gone. My power worked, my internet worked, and my car is working. Truly, I have this sense that God is looking out for me, is with me, cares about the widow, and is protecting me.
God with us.
Someone to watch over me.
Thank you, Dee. I can so relate to your post. Emmanuel looking out for me when I feel like I’m the only lonely one, yet truly He has led me to a new church whose members have been very welcoming. A lady patted the seat next to her and motioned for me to come and sit next to her in the pew. I finally went to get my hair cut and my hair stylist gave me a gift card to go out to a restaurant to get a bite to eat, when it should have been I giving her, my long-time hair stylist, a Christmas gift. I recognize it as Emmanuel, God with us, lessening my pain. The thought occurs to me now, does He want me to reach out likewise to someone hurting? The thought is both frightening and yet satisfying.
I love this story. Both the woman patting the seat next to her and your hairdresser. Thanks so for sharing.Simple gestures that can mean so much when Christ is flowing through us.
“out of the blue” 🙂 getting that letter from that couple whose son died..Then with their ‘toys r us’ gift card we went and bought a ‘Guesstures’ game last night..God provided the reminder that relationship is more important than rules….The love God gave me for my relatives both Saturday and Sunday as we visited…Friday, I was moved watching my neice in the nutcracker ballet..I was overwhelmed by the art, the beauty of dance, how God created it, the expression of it in ballet and how it glorified God..He gave me a glimpse of heaven I think as someday we will be free and dance unto Him..I have seen ballet’s before, this time God revealed to me His artistry, His beauty….Yesterday I couldn’t help but stare at my boys faces…Their big eyes, their supple skin and how innocent they still are..They are gifts given to Patrick and I from the hand of God..
YES!! Oh YES, Emmanuel, God with us!!
Love the sharing of little things, sensing His presence. Thank you, Rebecca.
When we were in Florida we went to Circ Du Solei. At first I was a little worried that I might not like it but as I watched I was amazed by the beauty that God placed in humanity. The beauty and skill of the physical body combined with creativity and on top of that my ability to see God in so many ways. It makes me think of how Immanuel is with me and able to reach into my soul and lift me up with just His presence. Joey absolutely loved it.
Thanks for providing the link! I didn’t want to ask help from my son-in-law who helps me with this website as he needs this Christmas time off to be with his family! So thank you.
One of the parts I especially liked, Anne, is when the children are singing, with resolution: If God be with us, who can be against us?
I also loved what you shared about Circ Du Sole — though I don’t even know what that is, I loved you being able to see the beauty God placed in humanity. If we can see that everything beautiful, every good gift is from God, it increases our awareness of His presence. We are going to watch ELF together as a family and look for redemptive values. They are there!
I love that part too Dee, especially that little boy singing his heart out with two front teeth missing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE_tuMpIOho That was beautiful Dee! I see what you mean about the children’s faces. Each one different in expression and physical features but all equally precious in His sight.
My heart is filled with gratitude for the Christ-like character of the women on this blog, from whom suffering has produced such tenderness and thoughtfulness.
Here, and I’ve probably given it to you before, but is worth repeating with this thought: Luci Shaw’s Salutation
Framed in light, Mary sings through the doorway
Elizabeth’s six month joy jumps
A sudden salutation, a hidden encounter
between son and SON
And my heart turns over when I meet Jesus in you.
This Advent season has been really special. It was the first time I’ve focused on celebrating Advent. I have come to know Emmanuel in a way not possible before my emotional trauma. I find myself running to Him more and comforting myself with the knowledge God is indeed with me. Just last week I almost had a breakdown at the home of one my clients. A lot of emotions came rushing at me and I cried out to Jesus to help me remember I have him and he is enough. Later in the morning, God let me know through an eighteen month old toddler that he sees me. Kayla brought me a toy and talked to me in her baby language that only she understands. She didn’t know that I was an emotional wreck on the inside but God did and he used her to comfort my still fragile soul.
Tammy, I’m so sorry you were upset. How wonderful the way the Lord ministered to you when you cried out to Him. You make me think of something a woman in my other Bible study said. If I am never in need then the Lord never has opportunity to be my supply. I will be praying for you.
By the way that is my favorite age of children. They are so precious and trying to understand their thinking is a wonderful challenge to me. That is just awesome that God ministered to you through a small child.
When I am upset I will try to remember to do just what you did.
Thank you Anne for your concern. I wasn’t upset because someone had hurt my feelings, instead, I was overcome with emotion with seeing a family who demonstrates unconditonal love toward one another. I never had that growing up and its something I greatly desire. I have that in Christ and he has made that truth very clear through Kayla. Blessings to you and your family!
Tammy, wow, what a way for God to soothe your heart..He surprises us like that. He comes in the midst of our pain in ways we would never think of..Thanks for reminding me of that.
We’ve been blessed with fresh snow, a constant reminder of how He makes us whiter than snow. I loved how Tracy began — Christmas is Emmanuel. Even if there is no family, no gifts…
But I am also blessed with family. My youngest arrived safely with her husband and baby Miabelle Meredith. My son-in-law is blessed with a spirit of thankfulness and entered with: “Isn’t this snow amazingly beautiful? And oh — look at the cabin: the fire, the candles. After supper, which was simple soup and bread: “That was the best soup – such a good meal!” The spirit of thankfulness so lifts me.
And then I think how God commands us to praise Him, knowing how good it is for us.
Let me do that, with the help of a praise psalm.
O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth.
LORD THERE IS NO ONE LIKE YOU — NO ONE IN ALL THE EARTH.
You have set your glory above the heavens, out of the mouths of babies and infants
YOU HAVE LORD — THE STAR AT BETHLEHEM PRAISED YOU, AND THE LITTLE CHILD WHO MINISTERED TO TAMMY REFLECTED YOUR GLORY — YET YOUR GLORY IS ABOVE BOTH.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers…what is man that you are mindful of him?
THIS REMINDS ME OF MARY’S MAGNIFICAT — AND THE THOUGHT THAT THRILLS ME OVER AND OVER. YOU MADE THE UNIVERSE, YET YOU ARE MINDFUL OF US, EACH MOMENT, EACH THOUGHT…
o lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
O COME LET US ADORE HIM, O COME LET US ADORE HIM, O COME LET US ADORE HIM, CHRIST THE LORD.
Beautiful thoughts about your blessings Dee.
I am reading Zechariah 2-4 this morning. The images are thrilling to me. In chapter 2 the Lord is the wall around Jerusalem, the pupil of His eye, with the promise of coming to dwell with us (Immanuel). In chapter 3 He provides remdemtion, in one day. He removes Joshua’s filthy clothes and gives him access before the throne. Chapter 4 is an image of a lampstand with many lamps on it and olive trees on either side to provide oil to the lamps. I love the protection and redemption but the provision of the Holy Spirit is over the top. Without His oil I would be dry as a chip. This oil is the source of my strength and joy. It is shed abroad through me.
Anne, Amen.. So true..
A prayer to Emmanuel – God with us!
Father, you are high and lifted up, exalted among the nations!
You are worthy of our praise.
You are worthy of my praise.
Emmanuel – God with us!
Thank you for being God with me!
Thank you for rescuing me –
for reaching down in love and faithfulness –
surrounding and comforting me with your love.
You are everlasting and your rule and reign are forever.
You are the Mighty King,
The King of Kings!
You are Lord of all –
be Lord of all to me, in me.
May my life be a song to you –
a song singing your praises –
exalting your name.
O Holy One –
thank you for looking down with love on me.
Thank you for rescuing me, for loving me –
I will love you forever.
Make me, help me,
to be your faithful servant,
Fellowsojourner, That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂
I want to share what my youngest, Anne, who is a new mom, shared with me last night — because it may help each of you in the next few days. We will have eleven adults, five children, and four new babies here over the next few days. Anne said:
“Mom — have you prepared your heart for the next few days?”
“What do you mean?”
“I know it will be wonderful — but have you prepared your heart for the hard times, when there’s a little tension? There will be some hard moments — but we have to embrace those with grace, knowing that over-all it will be good.”
I finally had time to watch the video Dee posted! Wow…I couldn’t help but praise God..I wonder if that is just a microcosm of the beautiful praise and worship we will experience in heaven..But to see a glimpse of it here on Earth is a gift..Thanks for sharing Dee.
Dee, My heart flipped for joy when I read what Anne said to you. I think God just answered our prayers and is speaking through Anne to help you prepare your heart..He is with you!!!!!! Now we need to continue to cover this in prayer and also add prayer for the tension aspect..For healing in that area with whomever the tension is between.
Here is how God spoke to me last night..My husband, after only getting three to four hours of sleep, gave up his time with the boys after work last night to drive into Kansas City to pick up a special Christmas gift he saved up to buy me. He is so excited even though I am not the type who is a gift kind of person..He told me this is something I really need..He sacrifices many hours of sleep for our family to provide anyway..
My heart melts with thankfulness for the husband God has given me whose heart He is molding into the image of Jesus..This is Jesus’ way of extending His love to me…I’m just too stubborn sometimes to see it or appreciate it. But this Advent study has helped open my eyes to ‘prepare’ me to see His fingerprints all around me..To see He is with me..
You give me joy, Rebecca! It’s sweet to see your husband planning this for you.
Fellowsojourner, I love your prayer, especially the part asking Him to make your life a song to Him. Amen! Here is another great Christmas song performed in a cathedral. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRobryliBLQ
Beautiful, Anne, thank you
Anne — thank you! I absolutely loved it. I love the words to “In the bleak midwinter,” and the parallel to the hardness of our hearts, the ice, the snow on snow, yet here He comes, His warmth, His glory, His ability to thaw us.” I’m in Wisconsin surrounded by snow upon snow — so quiet, so cold —
this was lovely for me this Christmas Eve morn.
I love that song too and I love your comparison to our hearts and His coming to us. It is much to think about.
Thank you Anne! Beautiful song – love it! Thanks Anne!
I haven’t shared as I’m having a very hard time this Christmas. My brother, Dennis and my “sister” I never had (and she use to always say, I was her “sister), is 65 and in a nursing home and will live the rest of her life out there. She has advanced Dementia and she doesn’t know anyone and they feed her pureed food like a baby and if she doesn’t eat better, they will put in a feeding tube. She was fine in Oct. We are in shock, how fast this happened. She just wants to lay in bed and she wears diapers and is starting to be mean to others. Dennis and his family are hurting so bad and I am grieving with them. I love her so much and she is like a tree stump…there is nothing there. Dennis said he wished the Lord would of taken her home. I think it would of been easier too, and she would of never wanted to be like this. I know how blessed we are, but all I can do is cry. I love you, Emmanuel, please be with us.
Joyce, I am SO SORRY to hear you and your family are going through this right now,but SO GLAD you told us so we can pray..I will pray for your sister as well..I hope she doesn’t realize what is going on..It would be more painful for her I am sure. I will ask God to help you see the ways He is showing Himself to you today! You really need encouragement sis and I am so thankful He knows that.. He is mindful of you and desires to encourage and comfort you.. 🙂
Lord, we lift up Joyce and her brother Dennis to you, and ask that You surround them with Your strength, comfort, and grace. How hard and how shocking this is — only You can see them through and we plead for your help.
In Jesus Name
I am so sorry about your sister-in-law, who is like your own sister to you! It must be heartbreaking to see her the way she is, and that you can’t talk to her like you used to as she doesn’t recognize her family anymore.
I’m not sure how to put this into words….I don’t know exactly where a person’s soul/spirit is, I mean, we can’t see it, but our bodies are a tent that houses the spirit that is the “real us”. Somewhere in this body that is deteriorating, the real sister you know is there, and that soul is intact, and I believe can communicate with God, as the Holy Spirit is also there. The imperishable dwells within the body that is perishable.
I pray that God will give you clear signs that He is with you and with your sister!
Susan, I so agree with that! I have a friend whose son of 27 lay dying from a brain disease, he had deteroiated so that he no longer could walk or talk and was confined to his bed but I know of two instances where he responded to “God” at this time. One was when a woman was there who was “watching” him came and turned on the Jesus movie and out of no where this young man cried out for me, He did it for me! Another time, a woman from hospice came over, she played music for him, but this one time she forgot her music and found some Christian music that my friend’s daughter played on the piano and she played it for him, and great tears came down his face. I know and believe God speaks to those whom we cannot – there is no place he cannot go – He is Emmanuel!
A hearty AMEN!!!
Dear Joyce, I am so sorry to hear of your pain this Christmas, praying for you, your brother and your “sister” this Christmas.
Oh Joyce, I’m praying you and your family will experience God’s comfort — and am crying with you.
Joyce I am so sorry about your sister in law. Lord I pray for Your supply for Dennis. Help him to cling to You in all that he is going through. Please give him wisdom and understanding as he makes painful and important decisions. Please be with Joyce and her family and Mary Kay and Dennis’ children. May they each experience the oil of Your Spirit and peace in the midst of this storm. Thank You that Mary Kay knows You no matter what confusion she may suffer right now. Amen
I have to encourage and tell another story of how God showed me He is with me..
This is SO LITTLE..It seems SO insignificant, but God is teaching me to see Him even in the smallest things..
I was at Sams yesterday getting some stuff and when I went out to the van to load it up, a lady came up to me and smiled and gently said, “Can I have your cart when you are done?” I only had one more thing to get out and put in my van. Instead of her having me do it, she graciously lifted the heavy box of pop into my van for me. SHe smiled and said, “I tried to help a lady at the last store I was at and the lady wouldn’t let me… Merry Christmas!” I KNEW this encounter was from God. He sent this lady to bless me. I didn’t even think I needed the help, but I let her. I am not sure I would have let her in the past and would have missed it..I would have said, That is o.k. I can lift it, but thanks for offering. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wanted me to let her. That is Him quickening me and reminding me once again that He is with me. Jesus wanted to help me..Now how can I turn that down?!? 🙂
Terrific. To be willing to be helped!
Yesterday morning I had an awesome conversation on the phone with my dad. I had sent him and mom each Christmas cards, and on my dad’s card, I wrote about how we have shared and made many memories together since I’ve been an adult, and that I was glad, because now I will remember them, and can ponder them and treasure the special times dad and I have shared.
You see, dad was a workaholic when I was growing up, and wasn’t around very much, and we weren’t really close when I was young. He has told me and I understand now the reasons he worked all those hours, and has told me that he regrets it. I wanted him to know that the times we’ve shared together, especially over the last year and a half, are precious to me. Dad said he cried when he read the card and what I wrote to him.
We talked about how things get more meaningful to us the older we get, and family becomes more and more important.
When I got off the phone, I cried and thought of the verse that says how God will restore the years that the locust has eaten. I thanked Him for giving me this closeness with my dad, and special times with dad like this past summer when he became a Christian, that I will always remember and treasure.
I have a relationship with my dad that I never would have dreamed, say, when I was 19 or 20, of having. And now, in my 40’s, I have the wisdom and maturity to appreciate it.
Lord God, you bring restoration and healing
to our relationships. Jesus came that we
might love each other as He has loved us.
Sweet sweet. Thank You, Jesus!
Susan, WOW…Praise God.. I totally love the updates on your dad, and now to hear how close God has brought you two together..A totally sweet blessing to all of us from Him this morning!!! Thanks for blessing us with this story!
Today I’m thankful three of my families are here safely with their new babies, coming over the river and through lots of snow to grandmother’s house. Enjoying each other. So thankful for this. My Dad always used to pray, “Thank you for all our blessings and help us remember those suffering right now.” I think of Joyce, and others, like my nephew in prison, and people hungry. Such a bi-polar life.
Yet, Tiding of comfort and joy.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and comfort. I prayed with Mary Kay and she pulled back her hand from me, but even tho she doesn’t know anything,I know her spirit is in her and will be there with her. She doesn’t want to be read to anymore either(the bible). 45 years they were married and she was the best cook ever. Dennis doesn’t know how to cook or go grocery shopping or even pay a bill. We are helping him, but the point is, it’s not good to just have one person do all those things for years. Dennis is so lost without her and goes there everyday and helps her eat and takes naps with her, beside her bed and pushed her in the wheelchair around. He’s always had the biggest heart. When we were kids, my other two older brothers would take off on their bikes to school (about 8 blocks) in the morning and back for lunch at home and back and home after school, I was the youngest and Dennis was the oldest. Dennis would put me on the front of his bicycle and take me back and forth to school and it was very hard in the winter to ride it that way, on the snow, but he did. He’s always been loving like that. None of us had a college education. Dennis worked so hard as a body man for so many years and Mary Kay worked too and raised their 3 kids. They just retired about 3 years ago. He said, “I thought these were suppose to be our golden years, we worked so hard to enjoy”. He breaks down all the time now and the only other time I seen him cry was when dad and mom died. It breaks my heart. They are new christians. I’m so afraid he will start to doubt the Lord. Thank you again for all your love and prayers. I love you all. Merry Christmas
To Joyce: I am praying for you and your sister. May Christ Himself, Lord Emmanuel, be with you all!
Joyce, I thought about you tonight and prayed for you and for Dennis..He sounds just as precious as you. I just wanted to post on here tonight to let you know this Christmas eve that you are being covered in prayer, your sisters here are praying for you.. Love you sister!
God with us.
God be with each of you, dear sisters.
And with you Dee, and all your family
Joyce, I think I should share with you a little of our experience with my mother’s dementia. Her disease also advanced rapidly. My father took care of her at home the whole time. He was always very strong and when the time came he made the decision that she should not have a feeding tube. My sister and I were uncomfortable with his decision at the time even though we knew it was wise. Later, when looking back on all of the events I was so glad for his strength and conviction. She never suffered for lack of feeding as far as I could tell. When she became unable to eat we kept a food diary. This was proof for her doctor that she was not eating and she referred her to hospice which was a wonderful thing for her and for Dad. Hospice staff explained to me why not feeding her by tube made her death easier for her but I don’t remember the reasoning. I do remember that it proved true for her. If Mary Kay is truly at the end of life hospice will give her much better care than a nursing home. They will make her comfortable and they will help Dennis.
I pray for Dennis that he will be able to make the best decision for Mary Kay even if it is not necessarily what her care team wants to do. I also pray for lucid moments and peace for Mary Kay.
Thank you, that does help alot.
They have said if she doesn’t eat, it will be a feeding tube. They have no will, so no living will. He does have a power of attorney tho. She just inherited her parents farm when her mom died last March, but they will lose all of that to pay for her care there, probly. I shouldn’t be talking about this kind of stuff on here. If anyone has any help for us to understand, please e-mail me at: email@example.com Thank you and blessings to everyone.
It’s so good to see you caring for one another.
How did you sense Emmanuel on Christmas Eve or Christmas day?
I felt very swept up on Christmas eve. Nothing went as planned but that was a good thing. Al was pretty much the center of our activities. We met his girlfriend and loved her. We went to a small party at the home of Al’s second family (a friend from high school). Joey and I went with them to midnight mass. Just about all it was was songs. Liz sings like an angel and I sat next to her. We were supposed to have dinner at our house which just did not happen yet everyone had fun. I love it when the Lord makes better happenings than what I planned.
I missed a lot of sleep and a lot of quiet time but today I can catch up. We have a world of white this morning and it is still coming down.
It was so special what the Lord showed me the other day in Zechariah about how my strength for every day comes from His Spirit. I needed that assurance.
I worked on Thursday and was in a hurry coming home because I had so much to do. Traffic was heavy and the lights are so long. I was behind a UPS truck that stopped to let in someone who was in the wrong lane. I was a little irritated because I wanted to get through the light. We made it and after that I wanted to change lanes. I saw him behind me and thought ‘maybe if I put my blinker on he will let me over too”. So I did and he did. Without seeing or knowing him personally I know that was the Spirit of the Lord in him. I’m sure he had a ton of deliveries to make and preparations of his own. I saw Emmanuel in him.
God revealed His blessings to me on Christmas morning and gave me a thankful heart. My children, their faces when they opened gifts, the joy of giving to them and how God must enjoy giving to us even more. I thought of the joy of giving and the anticipation we had as parents watching our boys open their gifts..I was thankful for Relationship-knowing their needs and dreams and the joy of surprising them with provisions for that..
I know it sounds ‘materialistic’ but God blesses us all the time with provisions of all sorts, even when times are tough financially..It could be a simple fire in the fireplace, gas in our car for that day, food on the table all the way up to something like a Nook e-reader which is what my husband bought me for Christmas. 🙂 It is all from the hand of God, and it doesn’t happen only on Christmas..I think i miss it daily, I can be so short-sighted, but when He reveals His fingerprints to me, He fills my heart with thankfulness. But while I am thankful for his provisions what means most is the gift He has given me of being in His presence..The times He shows me all of this is from His hand..I am learning to treasure those moments and desire more and more to live in them daily..
Rebecca, it is wonderful to see the connection between our joy in blessing our children and God’s joy in blessing us. Thanks. I agree that we sometimes miss the small things from God or worse we credit them to ourselves.
I was wondering what your special gift from your husband was 🙂
Anne, yes and I got to download Matthew Henry’s complete bible commentary for .99 cents..Also, I downloaded the book, “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant. I am on Chapter two. It reminds me of sometimes how Dee asks questions to get us to ponder more deeply and put ourselves in the shoes of people like Mary..Stuff that Scripture didn’t address, but is good to ponder on.. This book seems to be the same way in regard to the lives of women back in Rachel, Leah and Dinah’s day..It is a fictional narrative of Dinah giving account to her life back then and the conversations they would have in the Menstrual tent..Right now she is telling some of the stories Rachel, Leah and Bilhah told her in detail about when Jacob came courting.. Some of it is pretty funny..The way they viewed Laban and the not so great way men treated them-their dislike of Laban, and in my reading this morning Rachel snuck up to see Jacob..She would sneak to see him and he would marvel at her beauty..She said while she loved him he stunk of a strong goat odor and a strong male odor..When she would go home she would bury her nose in Coriander.. ;P haha!
I read that book too, a long time ago, and I have never forgotten it. How different life was for them. Knowing these things is helpful for understanding the scriptures I think. After that book I thought more about the context of people’s lives as I read. I forgot about the goat odor though,Peeww! One thing I have learned from working around strong odors is that they stay in your nose and I smell them even after i get home. Maybe I should try the coriander thing.
I enjoyed that book immensely, though she takes lots of liberties with Scripture, it still gives you a sense of the culture.
You know I saw some things as I was reading today in the second chapter like when Laban gave Leah to Jacob and deceived him. She definitely took liberty with that and changed the story around a bit. That was weird, but I also agree that it still gives one a sense of the culture and it is hard to put it down. 🙂