29 December – Helen Mason, Life Church Petersfield

God is with us still

While I write this I’m waiting for my son to get to me so we can finish our Christmas shopping. I have spent the morning working prepping the newsletter for Christmas and New Year and thinking about some of the bible verses I have heard or read myself over Advent.

I’m always caught by surprise over the faith of the people in the Nativity story; 700 years before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah tells of this child whose name will be ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. When Mary is told that she will bear the son of the Most High God her response is ‘I am the Lord’s servant’.

Would that be my response? Having known what the expectation was of this child would I have said yes?

Then Joseph thinking himself to be the wronged party thinks to release himself from his betrothal when he is told that his child would be called ‘God with us’. Changes his plans and marries Mary.

Would that have been my response? Could I be that forgiving?

The name Joseph is given, Emmanuel – God with us – is that how I am living my life today?

Do I really believe that the baby whose birth we celebrate at this time of the year grew into the man Jesus, that he taught the twelve disciples in the ways of hope, life and love that the God Most High had planned for us before the foundations of the earth could be God with us?

Yes I do! And because I do believe all that I can try to respond with a simple ‘I am your servant’ when asked to do tasks, I can try to be forgiving even though I feel hard done by…all because the baby born in simple surroundings, worshipped by the shepherds and the scholars grew up to pay the ultimate redemption for me with the gift of eternal life, even before I was a twinkle in my parents eyes!