Our #ChristmasMeans seriescontinues today with this reflection by Matthew Rushton from Chippenham. It is loosely based onIsaiah 7, particularly verses 11-14.
The world is a complicated place. Some days, it shows off with breathtaking beauty a perfect blue sky and a frosty field, the perfect piece of music, a long weekend with the very best of friends. Other times, it seems cruel and heartless wars and terrorism destroying countless lives, storms which ruin property and livelihoods, loneliness and depression stealing the joy from the soul.
Where is God in this varying, see-saw world?
The answer is seen in the Christmas story. This is God's response to that world, on the highest of mountains and in the deepest of valleys. God is with us. In Jesus, I see God coming to meet me where I am. To rejoice with me in my celebrations, marvelling with me at the beauty of the world He created. And to weep with me in my moments of darkness, to comfort me and whilst not always removing my trials, to always be there.
This is the great comfort of being a Christian, God's response to the suffering and the randomness that seemingly invalidates His claims to kingship. It is not a grand display of his power, but a fragile sign of his presence. Not a mighty order from a kingly throne to subdue a distant, troublesome people, but a visit to sons and daughters, deeply loved from long before the moment they were born.
And it's not just history. The God who came in human form, who ate with his friends between his great sermons and miracles, who walked and talked and laughed and cried that same God is alive today. He is with us today.
Even in those days where I feel most alone, even in those days where the light seems a long way off, I can know that He has sent His son, and thus I can know that He walks with me. That's the thing that's worth celebrating in the month of December; that's what Christmas means.
Jesus Christ is Emmanuel God with us!
Matthew Rushton is a member of St Pauls Chippenham and is currently studying Maths at the University of Cambridge.