Spend enough time around new parents and you’ll likely hear a common complaint: People keep trying to touch my child! It seems we are irresistibly drawn to babies. Did God have that in mind when He chose to send His Son to earth as an infant?
In the years between the Exodus and the birth of Jesus, the law restricted access to God. But in Jesus, God comes near. Though many kids outgrow their approachable nature, Jesus did not. All through the Gospels, people are drawn to Him, pressing in, reaching out, touching Him.
God desires this closeness. It’s the reason “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14), to wash away the stain of sin, to close the gap between darkness and Light, to welcome us back into relationship with our Creator, and to invite us into His service.
Jesus told His disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus preached, healed, fed, and instructed—but He also modeled a posture of nearness to God by regularly spending time alone with the Father.
How often we seek and strive to do what we believe God would have us do without first drawing near to Him. The Church in Ephesus struggled similarly: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance ... [you] have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:2-4). This Christmas season, may we find our love for Jesus refreshed and renewed as we remember that He left heaven itself to draw near to us—and may we move toward others in love as a result. Let us draw near.
Lord, in this season that should be all about Your presence and nearness, we struggle to make space for You. Forgive us. Grow our desire to be near You until we are consumed not by activities and acquisitions but a longing to be in Your presence.
by Jill Heisey, friend of HOPE