by Ruth Chou Simons
Have you ever stood at the top of a mountain, or the ocean’s edge, or deep in a redwood forest, or in the stillness of a winter blanket of snowfall, and wondered at God, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). Who am I, God, that You hear me, know me, or meet me in my need?
God’s creation can draw out that wonder and humility in us that so often gets tangled up in our self-made confidence and sense of control. “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created” (John 1:3 HCSB). Nothing happens outside of God’s care. He made our hearts to respond to music and He made tastebuds to experience all the flavors He has conceived. He made us to be different from the rest of creation; He made us for fellowship with Him.
All of creation was formed, shaped, and designed to show us His character and to declare His glory. God didn’t create the universe out of boredom, but out of a desire to have a relationship with us.
Creation was God’s labor of love. God’s heart from the beginning was for us to be with Him. The Jesus we find in the manger is indeed Immanuel, God with us, but God demonstrated His desire to be with us from the very start of creation.
Creation is connected to the Christmas story because in both, God reveals His heart for us, His children. God’s desire is, and has always been, to be with us in unhindered fellowship. The climax of the creation account was God walking with humanity in the garden. The good news of Christmas is that despite all the estrangement our sin brought to our relationships, God came to walk with us again in the person of Jesus. As we prepare Him room during Advent and Christmas, don’t forget where it all began: God and His creation, made to walk with Him.
Christmas—the story of God with us—is not about us, but about the heart of God. And if we know nothing else, this is enough: that our Creator God loves us and created us for Himself.
Chances are this Christmas finds you feeling more alone in your personal struggles and thoughts than the busyness and festivities of this season might suggest. Maybe it’s physical distance from those you love, or maybe it’s emotional. And maybe the challenges of this year have you wondering if you’re the only one who struggles like you do. Our enemy, Satan, just as he did in the Garden, would love for us to think God has abandoned us—that He has left us to fend for ourselves.
Most of us experienced the effects of isolation and distancing that a global pandemic brought. And those effects were compounded for an already-lonely generation. The separation we felt during that global crisis was not unlike the separation that sin causes in our lives. It isolates, it hides, it removes us from the comfort of others. Sin robs us of the very nearness we were created to have with our Creator, God. The weary world that looked for their Messiah couldn’t fix the problems of pain and brokenness that sin set loose. They needed God to do the impossible, and He did.
The name Immanuel emphasizes God’s nearness to us when we were unable to be near to Him. For us as believers, God is with us; He is not distant from us or against us. This truth reveals the heart of God. It makes His promise in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always,” all the more special. We are never alone.
God with us is the true gift of Christmas. For all the human effort and our insufficient means of paving a way back to fellowship with Him, God closes the gap and makes the only way through His Son. He came to us! The weary world rejoices, indeed. And in our rejoicing, we relax our shoulders, sigh in great relief, and sing, “O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!”
Ruth Chou Simons is a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including her most recent Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always. She is an artist, founder of GraceLaced and speaker, using each of these platforms to spiritually sow the word of God into people’s hearts. Ruth and her husband, Troy, are grateful parents to six boys—their greatest adventure.
This article is adapted from: Emmanuel by Ruth Chou Simons Copyright © 2022 Ruth Chou Simons. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97408.www.harvesthousepublishers.com