Into the neighbourhood (Advent Day 23)

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 truthJohn 1:14 ESV

We are almost there. It is almost Christmas. Our journey through advent is coming to a close. The journey has brought us to Bethlehem, the town with no room for its King. So we venture on just a little further to a lowly stable, where Mary, the impossible mother, reached the end of her pregnancy. This was the moment. This is what mankind had been waiting on from way back in the garden. This was what the prophets had spoken of, what angels had sung about. No longer would man and God be distant. For as Mary went through the pains of labour Jesus, the only Son of the Father, was born in human flesh. The Word had come to live among us. He had, as The Message translation puts it “moved into our neighbourhood”.

God is not distant or far off. He is right in the midst. We don’t have to go looking for Him – He came down to reach out to us. When we put faith in Him and draw near to Him He is faithful and will draw near to us (James 4:8). Though we do not deserve it and are not worthy we will get to see his glory and worship at the throne in His eternal Kingdom for Jesus came full of grace.

Because of God’s grace we can have hope this Christmas. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. We don’t deserve anything from God. We can never earn anything from God. Our righteous deeds are like flithy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6). Our sin leaves us stained crimson. But because of the sinless blood of Jesus we can have hope. He paid it all. He took what we deserve, and now we can get incredible, extravagent, amazing grace from God, the Father who doesn’t need us but who wants us.

He does not love us from a distance. He does not look at us from far off, like today’s royalty waving to their subjects from armoured vehicles. Jesus dwelt among us. Right in our midst. Not far off but with us. In the pain and heartache with us. In the moments of miraculous breakthrough with us. In the dark of night with us. In the good times with us. At the wedding with us. At the death of a beloved friend with us. In the storm with us. In the sting of betrayal with us. In the agony of slander with us. From His first cry in a Bethlehem stable to the final cry of pain on the cross Jesus was with us, dwelling among us. He didn’t stay far off. He didn’t distance Himself from our mess and dirt. he embraced it. He lived in our neighbourhood out of choice so that one day we may live in His neighbourhood. But it is a choice for us too.

We must choose to believe and trust in Him. Jesus is reaching out to us, but we have to accept the hand that is extended out to us. If you have not yet made that decision don’t delay, do it today! And remember the cross is not the end. Jesus rose trimuphant over the power of death. His sinless sacrafice paid our debt in full. He returned to Heaven to send the Helper to us, God the Holy Spirit who would remain with all believers until we enter into the neighbourhood of God. God did not just dwell among us 2000 years ago – he still dwells among us today!

The sound of heaven touching earth is the sound of a young mother in labour, each groan signalling the approaching birth of the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us, not far off but right with us, through all the highs and all the lows with us.

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Learn more the author of this post:

Pete McM
The original founder of All4God, Pete is 26, lives in Northern Ireland, is a junior doctor, Ulster fan and is passionate about Jesus
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