Immanuel in 2020
In the spring of this year I was preaching into a camera and I told our church that my prayer for coming through the pandemic was not just that we make it back to normal but that it would be evident that we had been with Jesus during the pandemic. That our hope sustained us. That we served others with joy. That we lived by Christ's ethic. It was my supernaturalized vision of 2020. I still long for this and I think is is what the great commission lived out looks like.
From a hopeful place in Scripture we hear of what Advent delivers and what those in Christ are meant to reveal. Zechariah is among the minor prophets and in a collection of words from Yahweh through the prophet we hear of calls back to justice and trust in the Lord's strength and plan. Then in chapter 8 there is a wonderful vision of a coming peace, an expansion of Jerusalem, the city of God.
In the description it is clear that this is the place humanity longs to be. And the far off are brought in. But it is one of the ways they come that stood out.
"Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” Zechariah 8:22–23(ESV)
Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. This is a Christmas passage. Immanuel has come, God with us. But it is also a passage for the journey home to this place of peace. This is what draws the nations. People that have been with God. Not doctrinal statements. Not political preferences. But that God is with you.
As we wind down the year and look forward to another, might this be a bit higher on our list of prayers. That it would be noticeable that we have been with Jesus. That God is with us... that others might come along.