The Manger. That’s it.

The Indwelling Life of God

Advent Reading

In Acts 20:35, Jesus said, “it’s better to give than to receive,” which is absolutely true! What is also true is that we cannot give away what we do not possess! We only give because we first received! 

Everything we have to give away has first been given to us in Jesus, who arrived in the package of a baby wrapped in cloths, laid in a feeder for farm animals, to freaked out parents, surrounded by shepherds. This baby boy was God in the flesh, a free gift that we celebrate this season.

We celebrate because He came so we could be restored, empowered, and forgiven. Meaning we never, ever have to face the challenges of life alone. His promise for us on this Christmas Eve, and tomorrow, 2021, and forever: “I AM is with you.”

God above us became God among us so that he could be God within us!

Before Jesus came, His people felt it was impossible to touch or be touched by God. When God first showed himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the appearance was marked by thunder, lightning, the sounds of the trumpet, and the mountain itself smoldering from the terror of it all. 

“On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a deafening trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.”

From this early experience of the presence of God, the boundaries were set as the people told Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” (Exodus 20:19)

God wanted to draw close to His people, but out of fear and years of living in slavery, experiencing a culture whose gods enabled their abuse, the people found ample reason to distance themselves from Him. 

That’s why “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Jesus came as a baby instead of arriving on a mountain in fire and light. He didn’t want us to pull back from Him, or be afraid, but we didn’t know any better! His arrival in the most unassuming, unintimidating way imaginable meant we wouldn’t be repelled, but would gather around this baby, and finally begin to know the safety of His love.

In Jesus, we met the God who can be touched as He lives in our midst. The same glory present on Mount Sinai was also present on Mount Tabor in the New Testament, and once again, the disciples were tempted to pull back at the sight of it. 

“After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, “it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown on the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17:1-7)

In Jesus, God approached us so that He could reach us. Don’t miss this: When the disciples began to pull back from His glory like the Isrealites did in Exodus, Jesus was right there and able to physically touch them and reassure them!

God above and apart from us wasn’t what He desired. Even God among us wasn’t enough! His ultimate desire was unity, intimacy, and indwelling, and to achieve the He had to come in the flesh! From God far above us to God, who lives within us! 

(Acts 2, Gal. 2, Col. 1)

The miracle of Christmas is that He didn’t come to us to pull us out. He came to be with us, fill us, and send us out! It wasn’t a rescue mission; it was a realignment mission. Not to extract, but to empower. God in us means we now carry the gift that Christ brought to earth! 

God above us became God among us so that he could be God within us, and reveal Himself THROUGH US!

Merry Christmas Living Waters family! May you experience, carry and release the thrill of hope that is Christ in us this Christmas season! May all heaviness and weariness be cast off as the warmth of His favor and love envelope you! Truly, God is good, and He has good things in store for you, and us in 2021!

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