Coming Close

The other night during our evening family worship, we were discussing how important it is to make time each day to spend with God.  Suddenly one of our children burst into tears.  After they were able to calm down enough to speak, Nick and I discovered that this child struggled with guilt that they didn’t think about God during the day, but rather got distracted and forgot all about Him.  Nick and I both expressed that we struggled with that too.  It’s one thing to spend time with God during an allotted time of day, but to keep our minds on Him all day?  That is a habit we are still trying to form.

In light of the Christmas season, I think about Matthew 1:23 which says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”  God went to great lengths to come to the earth to be with us.  He gave up His perfect, limitless and glorious form to take on a weak human body.  He gave up His heavenly home where He is always worshiped to be born in a barn where no one was immediately there to welcome Him.  And He limited the use of His divine power to be beaten, bruised, and crucified to save us.  God changed His entire life to be entirely close to us not only during His earthly life, but for all eternity as well. 

God didn’t take such extreme actions to live as a human on earth just for us to go about our daily struggles alone either.  As Katie Davis Majors reflected on Jesus coming to the earth and was birthed in a dirty, smelly stable, in the most humble of circumstances she writes, “He makes Himself very least so that He can commune with the most desperate: us.”  Jesus came, yes, to save us from sin, but also so that He could be near us in our daily struggles of life.  But are we consistently aware that He is with us?  Do we have practices structured into our days to bring our attention back to Him?

While Nick and I were assuring our child that we would be committed to helping them develop the habit of thinking of God more, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 popped into my head. “Hey, I have an idea,” I said.  “Do you remember the verse that says, ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus?’ What if we picked three times during our day when we can do each of those things?  This will help us to remember God.  We’ll pick one time to rejoice and sing a praise song, one time to pray, and another time to give thanks.”  I saw the relief on our child’s face when they realized that they were not alone in the struggle but also not alone in making it better.

In this season of celebrating the Greatest Gift that has ever been given to us, what are some habits that you could stick into your daily routines to remember Him?  Maybe it’s scheduling a few different times to pray.  Maybe it’s listening to worship music as you do tasks or while you drive.  Maybe it’s writing a Bible verse on a few pieces of paper and putting them in areas that you tend to linger (a spot by the kitchen sink while you’re washing dishes). As followers of Jesus, let’s take up our responsibility to live lives that draw us close to the God who came close to us. - Deanne Snell

Related Information

Chapel Oaks Blog