LAVISH LOVE: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1 NIV)

MH900432403…parties and presents, shopping and sharing, STOP! Yes, stop right where you are, take a breath—and look down. You are standing on holy ground.

Because Jesus came to earth as God-with-us Immanuel, wherever we are, He’s there. He’s before us, behind us, beside us. His arm is around our shoulders. “Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds and protects his people, both now and forever” (Psalm 125:2 NLT).

For those of us who don’t live in Jerusalem, or Bethlehem, or anywhere else Jesus traveled in Israel, the notion of holy ground is hard to grasp. The old hymn I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked begins with, “I walked today where Jesus walked, in days of long ago,” and ends with “and felt him close to me.” But the truth is, we don’t have to be in a certain country, cathedral or temple, or even in a particular position to be close to Jesus. If we know him as Savior, he’s with us and within us. The Bible says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 NIV).

God met Moses on the hot sands of a lonely desert. He approached Jonah outside a large city and walked with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego inside a blazing furnace. He stopped Saul in the middle of a road with a flash of brilliant light. But now, because God sent his Son to earth to save us from our sins and come into our lives twenty-four-seven, he’s with us all the time. Whether we’re standing on a kitchen floor, a cement sidewalk, or the wide tiles of a shopping mall corridor, Jesus is with us – and we’re on holy ground.

Yes, our Immanuel came long ago, and he will come again in glory, hallelujah! In the meantime, he’s here right now…loving us, guiding us, saving us. “She will give birth to a son,” the angel told Joseph, “and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NIV).

Matthew then quotes an Old Testament prophet named Isaiah: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23 NIV) As the Baloche/Kenrick song “What Can I Do” says, what can I do but thank him, give my life to him, and make everything I do a hallelujah?

Thank you, Jesus, for becoming our Immanuel. You are our hope of glory.

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