If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Immanuel



There are a few words in any language that have the power to change your life.  A spouse says “I want a divorce.” The physician says, “You have cancer.”  You answer the doorbell and the police officer tells you, “There’s been an accident.”

I was four when my mother sat me down on our black cushioned couch. It had flecks of silver threads throughout the fabric. She said to me, “Daddy told me he won’t be coming home anymore.”

You might not think those words would have a similar impact as those words in my first paragraph. But I remember them as clearly today as I did 61 years ago.

I didn’t know it at the time – how could I? – but God was with me when my mother spoke those words. I didn’t know He was with me because I couldn’t see Him. Or feel Him. But today, sixty-one years later, I know He was not in the shadows of our one-bedroom apartment. He was not sitting beside me on the couch. He was sitting with me in His lap, His arms tightly embracing me.

Through Isaiah, the Holy Spirit talked about the first Advent this way:  “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” 

Immanuel. The name means, “God with us.”

Whoever you are and whatever the words that have changed your life, you need to know “God with us” was with you then. And Immanuel is with you now.

Right this moment.

You don’t see Him. You don’t sense Him. But He is holding you in His lap. And His arms are embracing you.

You can trust that to be true because Jesus promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  And Jesus cannot lie.

Advent is a time when we make time to look back to the time God sent His son into our darkness and sorrow and emptiness and loss. Advent is a time we make time to look forward to the great day of the second Advent, when God returns for His own. And Advent is a time we make time to look at our present time with renewed confidence that “God with us” means whatever our life-situation, whatever the words that changed our life, God’s arms enfold us. Now.

This moment.

Always.

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