Tuesday, December 1, 2020
I am going to take a big risk. It’s a big risk for me because I like to plan things out. I like to know that when I start something I will be able to finish it, and I like to have a completion date scheduled. I am going to start a series of devotionals today that will hopefully lead us into Christmas. The theme is going to be “Favorite Christmas Memories.” The problem is that I don’t know if I can come up with enough personal stories to get us all the way to Christmas. So to help me, would you mind sharing with me some favorite Christmas memories that I can use to complete my project?
Let’s Begin. I remember large parts of this story, but I have added other details that are probably true based on my knowledge of who I am.
I don’t ever remember a Christmas without an emphasis on Jesus as God’s gift of love to us. My earliest memories of Christmas are centered in Cleveland, Ohio at my maternal grandparent’s home. It was a small brick house with two stories plus a third story attic that was partially finished where I and my two brothers would sleep. At the head of my bed was a small door that led into the unfinished part of the attic.
I remember the first night I slept in that bed. I was six years old. I was terrified. My two brothers were across this small room, but I never felt so alone and so scared. My imagination ran wild with thoughts of what was behind the door next to my pillow. I dove under the blankets. I cried with fear. My mom came to my rescue. She sat down on the edge of the bed and assured me that I was not alone.
I looked over at my brothers, and wondered what help they would be to me if a monster truly came out of the door. My mom noticed my fear, and began to explain to me the meaning of the word Immanuel. She quoted Matthew 1:23 to me.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
She told me that Jesus is Immanuel. She reminded me of the decision she had helped me with one year earlier when I repented of my sin and confessed that I believed in Jesus as my Savior and received God’s forgiveness of my sin. She told me that because I had believed in Jesus, He had come to live in me in the power of the Holy Spirit. She told me that Immanuel was always with me, so I had nothing to fear.
After she left the room, I looked at that door, and decided that in the morning I would go in there and see for myself if there was anything to fear. Suddenly my fear that kept me from sleeping became excitement for an adventure, which also kept me from sleeping. But the fear was gone. I completely trusted what my mom had told me about Jesus. I understood the peace that comes from personally knowing Immanuel. I have always remembered that God is with us because He sent Himself to live with us and die for us so He could live in us. God is not only with me, but He is in me. What have I to fear?