God With Us
by Scott Weatherford, Lead Pastor, First Alliance Church, Calgary, AB, Canada
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23, NIV
We stood in a hushed line in a musty church building, ready to see the very place where Mary birthed Jesus. My skepticism was at an all-time high, and my gregarious behavior had made the attending Orthodox priest grumpier than usual.
Nevertheless we stood in line, for we were looking for the miracle—the place where God appeared from the womb of a virgin and changed the course of human history. Somewhere in my heart I longed to see, to feel, to embrace the historical reality of Jesus.
We wound down a serpentine staircase to view a silver star marking the place of the divine birth. The air was thick with incense mixed with the hushed prayers of the devout. We were not alone in our quest. Others were looking for a miracle as well.
We long to see God, not just the place of his birth, but the intersection of his life with ours.
Today we will look for a miracle as found in Luke’s account of the birth of Christ. We will not stand in line in a musty old building, but we will see the place where God came to be born—be born in you. Are you looking for a miracle? Well, he is here: Christ the Lord.