Categories: WEEKLY DEVOTIONALS
Lisa Sleezer, MA, LPC
Therapist, Timberline Knolls
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
After the advent season of preparation, waiting, and anticipation, we rejoice in the birth of our savior. As we reflect on this new birth and ponder over the past year, we begin to plan and envision what the new year will bring. We may also think of what resolutions we may want in place for a more prosperous new year.
Everyone has made the proverbial New Year’s resolution. Many of us have resolved to eating healthier, exercising more, creating a budget, and the like. Some of us have even resolved to improve our relationships, our working environment, or to spend more time with the ones we love.
Whatever the resolve may be, we start fresh as the year ends and a new year begins. We may feel a renewed spirit of motivation as we clarify our thoughts and our goals. We may even feel a spark of excitement as we plot our paths for our new experience.
While we put our energy into achieving our goals, sometimes it doesn’t go quite as planned. For many of us, our path to our goals becomes difficult and our lives may get in the way. Our vision may become cloudy and distorted by how we are feeling, what our fears may be, or what we may be experiencing in our present moment, causing us to lose sight of our original resolution. We then feel that we have failed. We may give up. Our New Year’s resolution has fizzled out. Well, there’s always next year.
What if we set our resolution to seek God in our daily lives— to set a unique goal of experiencing Emmanuel. Would it be possible to experience Emmanuel even in our worst disasters? The answer is yes – God with us. God with us. Pause, and breathe that in. God with us in all the details of our daily life – our proudest moments and our worst disasters. God with us in every moment.
It is possible to experience and to connect with a God that loves us despite our failures and sin? Yes. God is jealous for us. He desires and longs for relationship with us; He does not determine His relationship with us based on what we do or what we don’t do. It is not a conditional love.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
He made a way for us. He loved us despite our shortcomings… and created a way for life through Christ; Emmanuel.
While we think of Emmanuel at Christmas time and in our season of new beginnings, we can also experience the gift in our daily walk and as we plan out our new year. Get to know Him, experience His love. Resolve to embrace Him as he embraces us in every moment. Emmanuel, God with Us.
Lisa has been an individual Christian therapist for adolescent girls at Timberline Knolls for the past two years. Prior to this role, she served as a clinical specialist with the adult and adolescent women population. In addition, she also co-leads the Christian Awakenings group at Timberline Knolls. In the recent past, she has run Grief Share through her church, and has also been a member of the women’s prison ministry team.