Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are portions of Matthew 1:21-23, where an angel of the Lord tells Joseph this about Mary,  

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins….they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)


Who would refuse a peace that lasts because God is with us? Well, many do. Why? Because as sinful, rebellious people by nature, we tend to settle for counterfeits instead of the real thing. When offered the eternal peace that comes from sins forgiven, we would rather settle for peaceful circumstances or just our temporal peace of mind, right? We want to settle for the peace that comes from bills paid, relationships intact, body/health doing fine, and purposeful work to do for as long as we’d like to do it. Instead of “God with us” no matter the circumstances, we often would rather just have present circumstances be to our liking.

Let this Christmas, then, be a time of reflection when you think about what it means to have faith in the Savior who is “God with us” no matter the circumstances of the moment. That’s the offer that faced Joseph that first Christmastide. He had so much on his mind. Mary, his fiancé, was pregnant, but the child wasn’t his. What would he do? How would he face the sneers of the people of his community? He had a bit of courage; he reasoned that he would try to protect Mary amidst his disappointment and divorcing her quietly (Matthew 1:19). But then things changed dramatically. Suddenly, an angel appears, saying, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Matthew 1:20). Why? Because God was at work in ways that Joseph couldn’t totally understand. Joseph could have run for the hills. But, thankfully, Joseph put his faith in God’s message. He wouldn’t settle for anything less than Mary as his wife, and Jesus as His Savior, no matter the personal cost at the moment.  

Christmas and Easter are vital to us because they deliver what we really need. It’s the reality of sins forgiven and eternal life secured. It’s the promise of peace that lasts, a peace that endures no matter the present trouble. And that’s what our Bible verses point to today. They tell us about the God who brings peace when He pays the price for our sins, when He promises to be with us in all circumstances in this world and that we will live forever with Him in heaven. It’s the peace that comes when you know that there is one who is able, one who is capable, one who is with you in all things to bless you. Faith in Him says, “Nothing else, and surely nothing less.” O come, O come, Emmanuel, mightily into our daily lives. For when God is “with us” and God is “for us” (Romans 8:31), we can face whatever comes because our lives are secure in His hands. When we realize that IN CHRIST we have way more than ENOUGH, then life becomes a journey of “God with us” that ends with His abundant joy, eternal life, and a peace that lasts…even amidst circumstances to the contrary. A blessed Christmas to you all!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, give us the wisdom and the faith of Joseph to take You at Your Word even when circumstances seem to the contrary. And give us a sense of what it means to live life with faith in You, the God who came into our world to save us, the One who is “with us” even now. AMEN

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