Solitude with Emmanuel
The Christmas season is a powerful and unique time of year to remember that Jesus came to make a way for us to be near God. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus built a bridge between us and God allowing us to have continual, unhindered communion with our Creator. But God can’t force us into nearness with him. Even as believers filled with the Holy Spirit, we can choose to live as if God is still far off. So this Christmas season, may we choose to open our hearts to the living God that we might experience fullness of joy in his loving presence.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
One of the greatest privileges of the Christian faith is solitude with God. Engaging in solitude with our Creator is a life-giving celebration of his heart. Our God isn’t after what we can do for him. He’s not after fixing us. He’s all about having us. He’s all about being with his people in restored, unhindered relationship.
Isaiah 7:14 prophesies about the birth of Christ saying, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel means, “God with us.” How amazing is it that the King of heaven and earth would desire to be called “God with us” and that our Creator would want to be known as one who would write himself into the story of his creation in such a way as to be tangibly, truly present.
When we take time to get alone with the Father apart from any other agenda, to simply open our hearts and be with him, we declare to ourselves and to God that our lives are centered around him. When we make space to hold off on questions (and reading, learning, and growing) to simply rest in his nearness, we discover that God is far better and far more loving than we ever could have guessed.
Solitude with God is a place of abundant joy. It’s a place of peace and encounter that no other spiritual discipline can bring. It’s a source of perspective and freedom in times typically marked by frivolous pursuits and stress. And it’s a cornerstone of Christian spirituality: a pursuit of God that casts aside every ulterior motive to simply and purely be with God.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The heart of Jesus is marked by grace and truth. He sees you as you are. He knows exactly what you need. Take time to discover the grace of God to speak to you as you simply open your heart and listen. Trust in his perfect love and leadership by sitting at his feet and letting him say everything, or nothing at all. Fix your eyes on Jesus today and enjoy the simplicity of solitude. May your heart be filled with peace and joy as you encounter Emmanuel, God with us.
1. Begin a time of solitude by meditating on the availability of God’s presence.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” Psalm 139:7-8
2. Take time to receive the presence of God. Sometimes it helps me to take deep breaths as a symbol for breathing in the presence of God and breathing out all my cares and weights.
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7
3. Rest in the nearness of Jesus. Decide not to ask questions or wonder about the things going on in your life. Instead, simply enjoy the goodness of God.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
One of the greatest markers in my life for how I’m doing is how consistently I am getting time to simply enjoy God. Loving and being loved by God is foundational to every other aspect of the Christian life. It’s only in experiencing God’s love that I can effectively love others. It’s only in enjoying God that I am able to fully enjoy family and friends. Sometimes the simplest of things are the most powerful. May your heart be light today as you find joy in the simplicity of solitude.
Extended Reading: Psalm 139
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