I'm glad I listened past the almost too country and too cute Christmasy songs at the start of Point of Grace's new Christmas CD, "Home for the Holidays," to get to some with messages and/or arrangements that gave my spirit a lift.
One of my favorites, both for the words and the way they are delivered, is "Immanuel." I couldn't find a transcript of the lyrics, but this is the first verse and chorus:
No decorations, no tree with tinsel, no lights this year at home
The rooms are silent, no carols play.
It's the first time she is all alone.
But what a wonder; she says there's comfort ...
Immanuel: Our God is with us.
Yes, He is with us still.
Immanuel. He has not left us, and He never will.
It's about people facing the festive season with emptiness, loss and heartache; the broken and lost. It seems I'm aware of more people than ever in those kinds of situations. Some, as in the first verse, remind themselves, and others need to be reminded that even in those circumstances, God is with them. And His people, including me, can help be that reminder.
Is it that simple? Does understanding and remembering that God is with us, whatever comes our way, really make a difference? Does sharing that message with someone else by taking time to call, visit or help, really make a difference? Well, it did today. It did last Sunday. In fact, it has daily. Just thinking of the reality that God is with me really does make a difference.
Joy to the world. The Lord has come. And He is still here!
What a gift! And, as the final song on that CD reminds me, what a Gift-giver. For indeed, God is the Giver and the Gift. Not only on one holy night, but always. May I always be grateful. May I rejoice and sing. And may I share that gift!