10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 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.
Emmanuel. God with us. The Creator of all that is came to live as one of us, to make His dwelling among us. He lingered. Not just for a moment or few days, but for many years. Took on the frailness and inconveniences of our humanity, subject to physical and mental illness, bodily and emotional pain, and even death.
I love this idea of God dwelling with us and our dwelling with God. I even wrote a song about how He came to live closer and closer to His people over the years: first in the tent in the desert, eventually in a human form through Jesus of Nazareth, and then through the Holy Spirit in all who receive Him. In.this.house: our very bodies. This is the story of the scriptures, that we can welcome the God of the universe so close, into our very “homes.” And that He was not content until He could be as close as our own thoughts and feelings.
I’m reminded of how I came to know Christ through the love and concern of several Christian friends and pastors who served Him with genuineness and childlike hearts. I was very cynical about the world, but in reality I longed for that closeness and peace they had with God.
In this Advent season, as we prepare our hearts anew, I’m reminded to prepare my heart like a child to listen to that “still small voice” that gently speaks from within. And, if I’m honest, continues to speak from without through others who are also dwelling with Christ. Sometimes that even includes my own children :-) And I want to be a believer who can dwell with others by sharing the same love and concern that He and His people have shown to me.