Immanuel. O come, O come, we sing each Advent night as we light our candles at the table.
Immanuel. Rejoice! rejoice! we shout on Christmas morn when the miniature baby makes his appearance in our nativity scene.
Immanuel. God is with us! This is the good news of Christmas. This is the holy wonder of the Incarnation. But it’s more than just the baby in the manger. It’s more than warm fuzzies under the twinkly lights. It’s more than a two-thousand-year-old miracle.
Immanuel means not only God with some other people back then, or God with us in some abstract theological way. Immanuel means God with us right here and now. If Jesus has really done this – brought us into the embrace of the Mighty God through the flesh and blood he shares with us – then it’s a miracle we can live out any day, not just Christmas Day.
Immanuel means we can live out our ordinary lives in the presence of God.
Immanuel is a reality for your every day, whether that’s in the craziness of last minute shopping, or in the quiet letdown when the decorations are put away for another year.
It’s a nice thought. One of the nicest there could possibly be. But how do we actually live it? How do we live aware of Him when we are awash in the messy churning of real life? And what does it look like when we barely have a spare minute to ourselves, let alone a sweet hour of prayer?
I used to feel guilty when, as a new mom, I didn’t have the time anymore for lengthy, uninterrupted “quiet time” with God. I wanted that time with Him, I so desperately needed that time with Him, but I couldn’t seem to make it happen.
And then I discovered a little old book with a timeless idea.
It was called Practicing the Presence of God, and it was written by Brother Lawrence, a dishwashing monk who lived a few hundred years ago. He learned to recognize God as “intimately present with us” at every moment. This is what practicing the presence of God is. Slowly, this concept began to transform how I thought about my time with God. I began a new practice – call it a habit, if you will – of living my days alongside Jesus. Of living with Immanuel, the one who wants to live with us.
So how do we go beyond singing about Immanuel to living a lifestyle of Immanuel? I’ve put together a list of things that have helped me learn to practice the presence of God. I’m sharing what I’ve learned in the hopes that it will bring you closer to Jesus as well, not just at Christmas but all year long.
Click here to read the list and find your own moments with Immanuel this season.
Looking for more Christ-centered posts, Advent activities and resources?
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