Wednesday Wanderings with Dr. Sherri is a time we set aside to wander in the Presence of Jesus and ponder His truths. When you are ready, prepare your mind, body, and soul to have a transformational encounter with Jesus.
Watch the Wednesday Wanderings Welcome for this week.
Now that we have cleared our minds of the clutter, we can wander on the journey of exploring the Gift of Emmanuel.
PREPARATION: In our last Wandering we examined chosen and desperate needs. This week we will explore the meaning of Emmanuel. When you are ready, you may begin the dialogue with Jesus and state: “Jesus, I invite you to help me to leisurely wander into your Presence. Prepare my heart to receive and illuminate my spiritual senses to encounter you and feel you with me.”
PROMISE: Matthew 1:23 Amplified
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.”
From the extraordinary immaculate conception of Jesus to His resurrection, Jesus’ life fulfills God’s promises. In fact, His very name is a promise of God. The name of Emmanuel was given to Jesus as a reminder that God is always with us in happiness, heart aches, and hopelessness.
PSALM: Angels from the Realms of Glory by James Montgomery.
Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night
God with man is now residing
Yonder shines the infant Light
For James Montgomery writing was his God-given gift and poetry was a tool he used to remind himself and others of God’s presence. At the age of twelve when he lost both his parents, he used the tool of poetry to express and heal his grief. Though an orphan to the world, he knew he was a child of God and that God was with him. He was empowered through God to publish eleven volumes of controversial poetry and progressively publish over four hundred hymns. On Christmas Eve in 1816 Montgomery used his writing platform as editor of the paper to publicly proclaim the gift of the birth of Jesus through printing the Christmas carol Angels from the Realms of Glory in the Sheffield Iris Newspaper.
Even hundreds of years after this Advent hymn was first written, Montgomery’s poetry reminds us that from His birth, Jesus was and is the Light of the World that shines of the truth that He is our mediator, He is God and He is man, and He is our access to God. Montgomery’s lyrics still reminds us that Jesus is God’s sign to us that God is with us, God is in us, and God is for us!
PARABLE: Christmas carols are still a holiday tradition. Another tradition is gift giving. One of our family Christmas traditions when our children were young is that all but one gift had to fit in a Christmas Stocking. The stocking was to be filled with practical gifts that did not cost over $25. This was not popular as most of our children’s friends were getting the electronics on the “children’s most wanted list.” Not to mention that over time $25 did not buy as many small gifts. However, the ONE gift that did not fit in the stocking usually made up for the disappointment they may have experienced by not having an abundance of gifts under the tree.
Christmas is usually a time of joy and gift giving. However, when you are unable to give gifts, it can be disappointing and parents can feel helpless. One year when our youngest son was about seven years old and our daughter was almost a teenager, we had major car trouble which exhausted our funds and we were unable to buy the one big gift. Within our children’s Christmas stocking we placed a card with an “I Owe You” note that said they could redeem the coupon for money to purchase their own one big gift after Christmas. I felt disappointed, shamed, and helpless that we were unable to provide the one big gift to our children. The holiday passed, another pay date came, and as promised they redeemed their coupons for cash after Christmas. They were able to purchase more than what they would have received from us because of the after Christmas sales. The next year when we asked our son and daughter what they wanted for Christmas as their big gift, our son asked, “May we have an I owe you like you gave us last year?” My heart melted. The shame I felt from not providing them with a Christmas gift was unnecessary. It had not impacted our children. In fact, they saw the promise of the gift as a greater value than the gift. This life lesson was so important to us that it became our new tradition.Our children understood the present of a promise and eagerly claimed the unsettled debt.
The birth of Jesus has a great value to us! Because of His birth, we are entitled to God’s promises. In the hymn lyrics, Montgomery reminds us that Jesus, who settled our debt, IS THE PROMISE. Montgomery is illuminating to us that the birth of Jesus– whose name means God with us– presents us with the greatest gift we will EVER receive–GOD WITH US. As the shepherds, we are invited to celebrate that His Presence is a Present that does not stop giving nor does it expire.
In all of the holiday traditions and gift giving, how often do we GIVE a gift that tells of the greatest gift? Let’s start a new tradition.
PONDER and WANDER: During this season of giving, how can we give a gift that tells of the greatest gift? I wonder what would happen if we chose to give one gift this year that provides an opportunity to reflect on the gift of the birth of Jesus. What if we gave a gift that tells of the promise that Jesus–our Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace–is our reminder that God is with us.
Ponder the question: How can I shine attention on the promises of Jesus, the LIGHT of the World, this Christmas?
The Bible contains many promises that help us to recall that God is with us.
- There is no where we can go that He is not present (Psalm 139:7-12)
- He is always with us (Matthew 28:20)
- We cannot be separated from His love (Romans 8:38-39)
CHRISTmas is an opportunity to ponder God’s promises, remember God’s presence, and to emphasize that Emmanuel is the greatest gift given.
Soul care training exercise: Take a few minutes to breath in and out. As you invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate your spiritual senses:
Chose one of the above scriptures as your focus to become aware of God’s presence with us at all times.
Recall that you are in God’s presence.
Next, draw a Christmas stocking.
Then Ask the Holy Spirit to show you an image or give you the name of the object that represents the promise that God is with us.
Next Think about what you will give as a gift that will relay the sign that God is with us.
Now, decide who you will give it to.
Finally, consider making this a new tradition.
We can be instruments in helping others remember the CHRIST of CHRISTmas and that Jesus, the light of the world is the greatest gift we have ever been given.
PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for being the light of truth and making it accessible to all. Even in the midst of shopping, gift wrapping, opening and returning I can choose to adore you by sharing your promises. This year, help me to select gifts that intentionally guide others to the Present of your Presence. Brighten my light to shine on the CHRIST of Christmas. Light of the world, unwrap the presents of your promises of your presence, peace, and truth to shine in and through me. In the name of the Prince of Peace, who is the Christ of CHRISTmas I pray, amen.
PRAISE: Now that you have emptied your mind of the clutter and wandered with Jesus, take a closing moment to thank God for His Presence! Let the work of your wandering fill you with the assurance that God is with us, God is in us, and God is for us!
Then take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes of wandering into the next ones and beyond.
Until next time, be Resonant.
PERSONAL BONUS: If you choose, take another five minutes to read about my experience with seeing a shepherd while in Rwanda.
Montgomery’s writes of Shepherds in the field abiding. While traveling in Rwanda our route was disrupted by a shepherd herding cattle. Cattle are of high importance in Rwanda. In Rwanda a cow is one of the greatest gifts you can receive because it represents wealth, nutrition, and sustainability. Before the genocide, when Rwanda was first settled, people who lived there raised cattle. Those who owned the most cattle were called “Tutsi” and everyone else was called “Hutu.” You could change your category by gaining more cattle. The genocide changed things and the labels of Tutsi and Hutu were used as a racial divide. Yet cattle remain a symbol of wealth and are valued and considered the best wealth a person can possess. A shepherd who is responsible for the safety and welfare of the cattle is assigned an important task because of the importance of a cow in Rwanda. Each cattle is unique yet each one represents the same promise of wealth, nutrition, and sustainability.
As Believers of Christ we may not be shepherds in the physical sense. However, we are responsible for the safety and welfare of sharing God’s promises with others. Jesus, His promise of salvation, and so many other promises are the best wealth a person can possess. Each promise is unique yet each one represents the same promise of spiritual abundance, spiritual nutrition, and spiritual well-being. How are you caring for His promises? Are you gathering them in your heart and sharing their wealth with others or are you herding and hording them for yourself?
The post God With Us appeared first on Resonant 7.
Emmanuel: Google images
God with us: https://pixabay.com/photos/christmas-stocking-tree-xmas-1479700 with added text
Shepherd and cattle: Photograph by Mary Shortreed