As we come to this last Sunday of advent our attention naturally turns toward Bethlehem, toward the manger, to the birth of our Lord and Redeemer, the Son of Man and the Son of God. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. What we see at Christmas is the infinite, all-powerful, everlasting God taking on human flesh, being made in human likeness, and living amongst His created beings as Emmanuel, God with us.
To say that God is with us implies that at some point He was not, at least not in that intimate, Fatherly, saving fashion. We don’t often think about that, about existence without God. Have you ever been alone? Distanced or estranged from family and friends, with no one to listen or care or draw near? What did you desire in that moment, in that space of time? To be understood? Loved? A caring voice? A reassuring smile? When we are alone we desire nothing more than the presence of another and that is what we received in the face of Jesus Christ, God with us.
What joy this brings! When once alone, we have been brought into fellowship; when once a slave, we have been made family; when once an enemy, we have been given friendship!
As we light this last advent candle, we cannot really understand the joy that comes from knowing God is with us unless we first truly grasp how utterly alone we were. It is good for us to spend time reflecting upon who we were before Christ, so that we can fully experience the joy that comes from knowing that God is with us.