As we enter this Advent Season, it feels like there’s just a lot going on. Christmas shopping, special concerts and programs to attend for little ones, winter sports and finals for students, fewer daylight hours, and a general sense that time is accelerating when we’re not looking.
There are countless opportunities to experience God at Christmas, but there can also be countless distractions and demands competing for our energy and attention. It can be a challenge to feel connected to God when life feels like a blur of activity and lights.
Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be sharing different ways to experience God’s presence and love this Advent season. It is our prayer that you will be able to draw near to Him and that His love, joy, peace, and hope will fill your heart to overflowing so that you can help others experience God too.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of my family reading the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible every Christmas Eve. When my brother and I were little, my mom and dad would take turns, and then as we got older, my brother and I joined in. And even though it felt like we’d read it a thousand times, there was something about reading it next to the Christmas tree, under the soft glow of the lights that made it seem even more special.
John 1:1-5 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
We often think of the story of Jesus starting as a baby in the manger. But this passage in John reminds us that Jesus is The Word and that His story starts at the very beginning of everything. He is the Beginning and the End. He was with God at creation and it is through Him that all things were made.
Yet, despite His great power and might, His infinite wisdom, and eternal nature, Jesus humbled himself to come to earth with the singular purpose of redeeming us and restoring us to God. He was fully God and fully human and experienced everything that we do. Our Savior is not distant, indifferent, or ignorant of what we face daily. He knows firsthand what it’s like to navigate all the joys, heartaches, challenges, and victories of this life.
The song Arrival by Hillsong captures it beautifully:
The One who holds the stars
In the creases of His hands
Is the One who holds my heart
Like a mother once held Him
The holy Word of God defined by name
The Author climbed inside the page
Oh, come now hail His arrival
The God of creation
Royalty robed in the flesh He created
Jesus the Maker has made Himself known
All hail the infinite infant God
The fact that God would go to such lengths to be with us is part of what makes spending time in God’s Word so impactful. It’s the story of God’s radical love for us. It’s powerful in every circumstance, in every corner of the world, and in every generation. God’s Word is alive and active, reaching the deepest places in our hearts and minds and transforming us. It meets us where we are, but does not leave us there.
During this time of year when we remember the arrival of Jesus, we also look forward to His arrival again one day. We eagerly anticipate with joy and longing, the day when we can behold Jesus face to face, in all His glory, tenderness, and might.
This Christmas, I want to encourage you to spend time with God in His Word. Dig deeper and learn more about what you are reading. Don’t be afraid to cross reference, journal, read the same passage again out loud, or talk about what you’re reading with a friend. You’ll be amazed at the depth of richness and meaning that is waiting for you.
My prayer for you is that as you read your Bible, you’ll read it through the lens of God’s radical love for you and know that He has gone to the greatest lengths for you to be with Him. Search for God in His Word, sit before Him in eager anticipation, and He will show up every single time. I pray His words will settle deep in your heart and meet you right where you are.
And as you see God’s character unfold in the pages of the Bible, I pray that the depth of your love for Him will flourish and you will cultivate a longing to spend time with Him every day, in every season.
If you are looking for a place to start or could use a Bible reading plan, we have some great Advent resources that you can download here. They include things like daily readings and weekly devotionals and are all designed to help you experience God in a real and meaningful way this season.
May Emmanuel, God with us, The Maker and Creator of heaven and earth hold you close. And may you experience His love, presence, and power as you spend time this Christmas season with Him in His Word.