What It Looks Like to Have Immanuel With You

I messed up.

I made a mistake that cost my company money.

When a coworker pointed it out to me, I felt terrible.

It was a stupid mistake.

I knew better.

I wasn’t thinking, was going too fast, and wasn’t paying close enough attention.

The whole thing was silly and I felt terrible because of it.

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Instead of getting mad, my coworker came up with a plan to recover what was lost.

What I lost.

When I messed up.

Because I made a stupid mistake.

But all of the sudden, there were two of us.

Two of us with my mess to fix.

Two of us who went to our supervisor to explain the mess and proposed a solution.

We were in it together.

That’s Christmas.

All of the sudden there are two of us in this mess that is sin.

We messed up but no longer were we alone in figuring out how to fix it.

That’s Immanuel.

God with us.

God right here beside us.

God in the mess with us.

God fixing our disaster.

Even though I owned my mistake at work and apologized profusely for it, my coworker’s solution took responsibility off of me and put it on her.

That’s Easter.

It means I don’t have to do everything myself. I don’t have to be perfect.

I can own my mistakes without also needing to offer myself as the solution.

It’s mercy—not getting what you deserve: punishment.

It’s Christ on the cross.

Jesus in my place.

It means I am not alone.

Immanuel. God with me.

It’s a powerful thing to be with someone.

You know the feeling.

A coworker who takes responsibility for your mistake.

A friend sitting beside you in church.

An extra long hug.

A “just thinking of you” text.

Who’s standing beside you?

Look around.

Who are the people standing beside you?

Those you ate turkey and stuffing with last week.

Those you’ll open presents with in a few weeks.

Those who fill your calendar, cross your path, and send you texts between now and then.

Those are the people standing beside you.

The people who get to demonstrate God’s love to you every day.

The people you get to demonstrate His love to every day.

Who can you stand beside today?

Maybe a coworker who needs you to stand beside her by sharing the responsibility for her mistake.

Maybe a friend who needs to feel your hand on her back while she shares her heart.

Maybe a stranger who needs you to stop right there in the grocery store and pray for her.

Try Something Different

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.

The first week in the four leading up to the birth of Jesus. Let’s make this Advent different. Let’s not get lost in the hustle and bustle, the chaos of card mailing, present buying, and concert attending.

Let’s seek Jesus this Advent.

Let’s do that through a special activity each week.

Advent Activity

Spend some time pondering that last question:

Who can you stand beside today?

Pick someone in your world you love enough to stand beside even in the midst of their pain, their mistake, and their struggle.

Then do what you set out to do: stand beside them.

Be with them.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. But it does have to be intentional.

Invite them over for dinner.

Even if it has to wait until January, get it on the calendar now.

Who matters enough to you for you to be with them?

When has someone stood beside you when you desperately needed it? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Since I can’t invite you all over for dinner, I would love to invite you over to my house online to enjoy some special exclusives: a free ebook, seven creative ways to connect with God, and some iPhone lock screens. Loan me your email address; I promise to keep it safe. I’ll also remind you every Monday of how much Jesus loves you.