God is With Us

God is With Us

December 24, 2014

“‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).'” Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

I woke to the cooing of my 8-month-old son in need of a dry diaper and a bottle. By the time I got to his room, I was fully awake to my reality. It was Christmas morning. Sigh. I had dreaded the arrival of this day.

It was the first Christmas after my husband’s death.

Most of my days consisted of loneliness and grief. I knew facing the holidays would be worse. I felt so alone.

My heart was joyless. There was no one to wish a Merry Christmas. No gifts to open. No celebration. For me, it was just another ordinary day of going through the motions. I’d care for my son and try to survive the grief and loneliness.

Have you ever been this lonely? Your situation may not be like mine, but I do know during difficult times God often feels distant. Uncaring. Unresponsive. Unaware. And yet, Psalm 139:7 challenged my feelings that Christmas Day.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (NIV)

The Psalmist was clear. God is everywhere. There is nowhere I can go that God is not already there.

As I pondered this truth, hope began to rise in my heart. I am never alone because God is with me in every situation, good or bad.

Isn’t this the message of Christmas — God is with us? Isn’t this the essence of our faith — God is with us?

Perhaps this is what inspired Matthew to write our key verse: “‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means, ‘God with us.’)” (Matthew 1:23).

That name, Immanuel, holds great significance for you and me.

This Name tells us Christ didn’t come that holy night to say “well done.” He didn’t come to pat us on the back or encourage us for just a time. He came to stay. God came to dwell among us and to reside within us forever.

Sure, God has always been with us, but this truth took on a whole new meaning when Jesus was born. The astounding truth of Christmas is that God put on human flesh and became one of us. A babe, lying in a manger, was proof He had come and His name was the message. God is with us in human form. Immanuel became one of us and suffered as we suffer so that He might understand our pain. So that He might know how to comfort and help us.

That’s not all. This baby Jesus didn’t come only to walk among us. He came to deliver us and set us right with God. The coming of Jesus meant God the Father had now sent His Son to deliver the world from sin.

What does this mean for you and me? It means no matter the challenge, you are not alone. Whatever your need — deliverance, strength, hope — Immanuel is present. He is not some far-off God. He is right there beside you this very moment.

My days grew brighter as I looked for God’s company amidst my pain. Eventually, I no longer trudged through ordinary days because my extraordinary God met me at my point of need. The secret is this. The more I learned to acknowledge His presence, the more of His presence I experienced. You can, too.

No matter where you are this Christmas Eve, you are not alone.

You may feel alone. It may appear that you are alone. But Christ is there with you. He sees you. He understands. And He can help you.

Tomorrow can be different. You can celebrate Christmas morn with new joy because He — God Himself — has come to be with you. In His magnificent company, though you may be down and out, you are not without. You are not without His love or His all-sufficient strength. You are not without His safety. You are not without His care or provision. And you are not without His presence.

This is the best news of all. Immanuel, God is with us!

Lord, Thank You for your promised presence. I can move forward in faith knowing You are with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 13:5b, ” … because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Micca Campbell tells more about her devastating loss and the hope she found through her faith in her book, An Untroubled Heart.

For more encouragement, stop by Micca’s blog and enter to win a copy of the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

How will you respond to the Christ child this Christmas?

© 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This will be the first year in 47 that I will not be spending time with any family members. I have a very heavy heart because of this. I never say myself alone. After reading God is with us, I realized several things, 1. I am not alone. Though it may seem that way God is with ME!. 2. God has set me aside from others this year for a reason, one I am not to question, make the day about the Birth of Jesus and celebrate the life he has given me. 3. Remember God has a Plan in his time!

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Micca, Merry Christmas to you and your son. Best wishes for the Holiday Season and a Happy New Year 2015.

    Psalm 48:14 says God is our guide until death.

    God guides us through the Holy Spirit if we ask Him to lead us. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes us a sheep who hears the voice of the Master(cf John 10:27).

  4. Micca, thank you for sharing. I was greatly uplifted. Have a very merry Christmas. Have you in prayer.

  5. boy did I ever need this today. Thank you so much

  6. Thank you for this…Christmas often weighs heavy on my heart because of the losses I have experienced too. Thank you for reminding about Immanuel. Someone who is with us always, long after all of Christmas lights go out…that is something truly worth celebrating.

  7. Harlan Conn says:

    thanks for the devotion , i lost my wife dec. 7th 2013 , and feel lonely everyday ….

  8. I loved your comment…”the more we acknowledge His presence, the more of His presence we experience.”
    So true!
    Thank you.

  9. Micca

    • Janet Price says:

      What is Micca? It isn’t defined on line.

      • I’m not sure if Chalisa started a note or not but Micca is my first name. It’s spelled differently from the bibical name which is spelled Micah. I was supposed to be a boy, but surprise, I was a girl. My mom kept the name and changed the spealling. Lucky me. 🙂

        • Janet Price says:

          Thanks Micca, Thought maybe I had missed something. Never would’ve guessed it is pronounced same as Micah! Merry Christmas to you and thank you for sharing your heart.

  10. Thank you for this gift this morning. I am grieving the loss of who my alcoholic father. He is not dead, but estranged from our family as he has given up his fight to alcoholism & is too abusive to be around my children.
    I am missing the wonderful man who used to be my daddy. Today I miss he & I shopping every Christmas Eve for stocking stuffers for my mom. I miss the tradition of being loved by him with hugs.
    What a joyful reminder you gave me today that the God who loved me so much as His daughter He promises not only to never leave me, but sent His Son to earth as Emmanuel.
    I may not have my earthly daddy to do loving things for my mom today, but I have Jesus to fill me with His peace & joy to partner with me as I continue the tradition of doing loving things for others with my children this Christmas Eve.
    Thank you for helping me see this joy from my Heavenly Father today & lifting my eyes back up to Him!

    • Janet Price says:

      Precious Jenn–I am so deeply touched by your comment. I love you my sister and I pray that you will feel God’s presence in a special way this Christmas. I am also praying for your dad. Never give up hope–for with God, all things are possible.

    • Jenn, I also had an alcoholic father. He died at age 66. I do not have children so I can not comment on having them around your father. I am so sorry you are grieving for your father. Love him. One time I heard a great comment about alcoholism . The comment was no one ever said my goal in life is to become an alcoholic. I lived hours away from my family but went I went for visits I always included my dad. Sometimes my visits with him were short because he was so drunk or had several others (his so called friends drinking with him) just an unpleasant environment but I always stopped by and gave him a hug . I am so glad I did. Like I said he is no longer hear for me o give him hugs.my dad never changed and your dad may never change but you said he was a wonderful man. He has a disease . It is an illness. That some people get cured and others do not. I am saying a prayer for you and your dad today :). May God bless you and your family.

    • Jenn, I also had an alcoholic father and grieved constantly for my loss of his companionship throughout the years. Let me encourage you to keep praying for him. My Dad was eventually healed from alcoholism and became a child of God before he died. God knows your heart and hears your pain. Try to love your Dad right where he is and God will bless your effort.

  11. Thank you for sharing your message. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago with dementia. In October he had a terrible fall and was left with a brain injury. This injury accelerated the dementia and in November we moved him to a memory care facility. It has been a lonely 3 months. Knowing that God is with me has kept me going and my faith strong. My prayers go out to ALL Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

    • Donna, I’m so sorry to read about your sweet husband. Keep your faith in God. He’s aware of your circumstances and His power in you with sustain you.

  12. Thank you for blessing me with this. I often mourn the loss of our daughter to drug abuse, then remember that no matter where she is, God is right there longing to take her hand once more and lift her out of the darkness, as He has so many times before. “He will never leave her nor forsake her.” So long as she draws a breath, there is hope. She is far away from us, but He can and will bring her back. There is always hope, and the Love, Peace, and Joy He gives us through the birth of His Son passes all understanding.
    Jenn, there is always Hope for your father. Though he has forsaken his life, though he has looked for peace in the wrong place, God is still there, waiting. Keep that precious image of your dad as whole, well, and strong in your mind. That, in itself, is a prayer.
    Immanuel:God with us… always, to the end of the world.

    • Starry, With God there is always hope! My brother was lost to drugs for over 20 years. We suffered a lot of pain and worry not knowing where he was most of the time. But God knew. And knows where your daughter is. Keep praying for God to send someone into her life that will minister to her. Eventually, my brother surrendered his life to Jesus. He’s never been the same! Today, he is a youth pastor! God is good and He is able. Hold on to hope, friend.

  13. thank you sooo much for sharing this. this is EXACTLY where I am ive lost someone special this Christmas, and I am alone.well I have my mom but No marriage…children thank you. doesnt feel like Christmas I feel loss and like I want the day just over. thank you I know your testimony so I really appreciate this coming from you. God bless you.

  14. Irene Bost says:

    thank you for this message. It was what I needed to hear today.

  15. Heidi Messerole says:

    Thank you … I needed this more than you know. Feeling all alone and hurting from some news I received 4 days ago.

  16. I am alone for the first time in my life, separated from my husband of 20 plus years. I thought we were working things out and reconciliation was possible but Sunday he said it wasn’t going to happen. I was expecting to join him and my sons, home from University for a Christmas celebration.
    Thankfully the season of advent has guided me through these last few weeks, hope, peace, joy and love and the Light of Christ will be my guide into the unknown of the New Year. Thank you for the message today,
    Christmas Blessings

  17. Thanks for sharing this devotion I really needed to hear this The holidays are hard for me with out my mom I feel alone and lost Without her But mother situations in my life are not too good Either I wanted a change for the better But I know when I dont feel god working I know he said he would never leave and forsake us Thank you

  18. Precious Micca! Your devotion touched my heart right where it needed to be touched today. A timely reminder of the presence of God, right here. right now–today–yesterday and tomorrow.
    Thank you for sharing it!
    It was so good–I re-gifted it 🙂 from my website today!
    Merry Christmas!
    Pat

  19. Chrysta James says:

    This message is so timely. It finds me feeling the fresh sting and loneliness of my husband’s 3 month journey with Cancer that he finished well, never once wavering in his Faith in God, on December 7th, 2014 at the tender age of 43 years. Although our children and I blessed and released him into God’s Hands (How could we not? In our almost 27 years together, I had never seen him THIS excited about going Home to be with God, never heard him sing so loudly in worship to The King of Kings as he waited), in my humanness, my heart aches to have him beside me at night so that I don’t have to have sleeping pills to aide me, to have him here helping make the decisions as far as what to get and how much to spend on Christmas, to hold me and tenderly stroke my hair, just to see him..to wish him Happy Birthday on December 27th… oh my heart.. I could just list and list things…I am so lost without him. For three months and now beyond his home going, I have honoured his request to stay strong, for him and for our children but honestly it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do to keep trying, to keep that I am strong face in front of people. I know the truth is that he is much happier where he is and I am truly happy for him. I don’t know what life looks like for me beyond the grief. I don’t know what my husband would want as far as me moving on. We didn’t discuss that part. I know that we held tight to God sees the big picture, and He could choose if He wanted, to heal him in the natural, but our hearts were confident that was not the outcome so we prayed use us, and please let us see little miracles. He answered the little miracles. One big little miracle was the return of our 19 year old from his wandering. Six years we prayed for him and never would we have imagined this would be the catalyst to his return. Oh, he has made this Mother’s heart blessed and beam with pride as over and over, as he and his sisters and our son in-law loved on him in his last four days in hospice and even at his Father’s home going celebration he gave the most moving tribute to love and legacy of the man we called Husband and Father. There were never so many tears in one place. We have been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and meals coming to our door.
    It seems silly but part of me even wishes he could be here to see all the love and care people are showering on us. I know he would be humbled.

    I know The Father has better things for him to be doing but I would like to think in my mind that He might just give him a glimpse of how much we miss him and how hard people are working to help and encourage us through this journey.

    • Chraysta, Oh how God loves you! He shows his love by all those personal touches from your friends supporting you during this time. His presence in your life is evident. I know it’s hard now, but your future is bright. God has promised you a bright future. He has promised you good. And He has promised you Himself. I, too, experienced the things you’ve mentioned. It will get better, my dear. Though we never stop loving, it will get better. I’m praying for you today. Merry Christmas

  20. I read each post and was struck by the fact that most trace back to loss-whether through death, disease, distance or alienation. I was reminded that God chose to suffer loss for our gain through sending His Son, Jesus, to save the world, us, that we might have “God with us”. That through His loss and suffering, we might become the sons and daughters of God. What a lavish love our Abba (Daddy) has for us! To those who suffer loss through the staining and straining of relationships by drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, please never stop praying. Prayer is our HOPE line to God and bless His Name, He is still in the miracle business. Our prayers show God that we trust Him to take care of what we can’t. Trust brings peace- a peace that is beyond all human understanding because Immanuel, God, is with us. If anyone who has written or read these posts has not given your heart and life to God, may this be the season of making things right with God for you. A simple prayer of faith- I believe in Jesus (his birth, death, and resurrection). Forgive me and save me from my sins. I give the remainder of my life to You, God. You are now my Father and guide for living. You are now a child of God, blessed and highly favored, and God is with you always. While “Merry Christmas” may be hard for us, we can always rejoice in saying, “Happy Birthday Jesus”-the real gift of Christmas.

  21. Dear Sister Chrystal’s, my heart grieves for and with yours. I know the pain of loss through divorce (his choice) after 26 years of marriage. I thank God for your faith and for your godly husband. I thank God for the almost 27 years you had with him. I thank God for your children and the gift of godly parents you and your husband gave them. I thank God that in such a hard spot, your children saw you stay strong in your faith and live it out before them. What a wonderful witness of God’s power for them to see! I thank God for His love, grace, and favor in sending others to comfort and care for you and your children. I thank God that He is always there with and for you. He has saved every tear you have cried. I thank God that He will use your loss for good and for His glory. I thank Him for all the miracles you have witnessed and for the gift of bringing a wayward son home. I wish that my children had been able to witness all the glory you and your children have seen rather than the death of a marriage and the aftermath of devastation and destruction. If you go to youtube and type in “Glorious Unfolding” by Steven Curtis Chapman, I think your heart will be blessed. I am in a wilderness of health issues that I don’t understand but I trust God for good and His Glory. He led me to this song during my hospital stay of 44 days. I found it a comforting reminder that God is not done with our stories yet. I will be praying for you dear sister.

  22. Thank you So very much for this devotion. I needed it at this very moment, I always know in my head that God is with me but sometimes my heart forgets & need to have words like these to remind me. I am feeling so lonely these days but not from a loss I am amongst my family all the time but I still feel among still alone. So this was the pick me up I need at this very moment of feeling sorry for myself.

  23. Dear Chrysta, my phone wants to change your name. It keeps correcting to Chrystal. Sorry I did not notice before I posted. God knows your name and so do I. Now if we can get my phone to cooperate! Praying for you dear sister.

  24. Just what I needed to read this morning… Grieving the loss of my mother-in-law six weeks ago, a beloved uncle last week, and the absence of my husband who has to work more of this holiday than he’ll be home with me and our three year old son. While I’m blessed to still have my husband, his not being here makes the loneliness and sadness (seemingly) all mine to wallow in. My head knows that’s not the case, but my heart is hurting. So thankful for posts like this which remind me to lean on Him.

  25. This blog was SO on time. It was everything I needed to be reminded of. Thank you so much for sharing your story and reiterating the truth of our awesome God. Thank you for being so real. My husband says he no longer believes in God. For the last year or so, I have been going to church alone, feeling alone etc. When we got married, he believed in God. It’s just so heartbreaking because I never imagined this would be where we are today. Tonight our church is having it’s first Christmas Eve service ever and I’m so excited! I thought he’d at least be willing to come for this service but nope. Over the last year, God has drawn me closer to Him as I casted my everything on Him with the news that my husband no longer believed in God. It was a very devastating time for me but once I looked to God, once I trusted Him to be my everything, not only did my relationship with God grow, I found myself thriving in areas that I can take absolutely no credit for. During that time I came to see and realize that God is the most awesome friend ever. The best. Yesterday when I asked him about the Christmas Eve service and he declined, I couldn’t help but be sad and I cried on and off again all night. But God had given me this amazing peace. And then I woke up to find this blog!! Such a beautiful story and picture that I needed to be reminded that we are never alone. That God is always with us even in the darkest times.

    • Sarah Goode says:

      This post was perfect. I am moved to pray for all the ladies that have replied and their needs and hurts. Although I am blessed with a committed, faithful husband at times I mourn the loss of not having children. Many reason why that has not happened and know that God’s plans for me life are good but it is a place I hurt over at times. I am so thankful for so many things/people in my life and also for this ministry. Merry Christmas.

  26. I am alone and don’t feel God is near. At least you had your son and other support.

    • Diane Roberts says:

      Lyn—— I just saw your post. I am so sorry you’re hurting so bad. I think I hear a little anger in your post. I know exactly how you feel. If you want you can e-mail me just to talk. My e-mail address is: reesener@gmail.com Sounds like we’re in the same boat. I care and I’m here.

  27. Diane Roberts says:

    This is my first Christmas in 40 yrs. without my husband. He died unexpectantly 4 months ago. I have no family and very few friends. They are all busy with their families. I feel so alone. Exactly how you described in your article. I wish I could of gone to heaven with him. I am also disabled so I can’t drive or even take the bus anywhere. I know God will get me through this horrible, dark place I’m in right now but it sure is hard.
    I hope everyone has a good Christmas.

  28. Teresatkeaton says:

    Missing my MOM so much. She went to heaven last year. I didn’t feel this way last year. I was glad to know she was no longer suffering and was with the Lord and loved ones. My husband is in medical profession and working overtime. One vehicle is in the shop.
    Due to physical difficulties it is hard to go out. Needless to say, I have felt lonely. This devotion has been what I needed to speak to me. A gentle reminder my Lord is with me.
    Thank you. Blessings, Teresa

  29. Andrea Henry says:

    This messege was a comfort and a reminder. God is always with us!

  30. I just read your devotional, “God is With Us.” A very timely word for me tonight… Thank you so much for opening your heart to help me and other women in need of an encouraging word.
    Merry Christmas!

  31. Thank you for this. It showed me I am not alone in my lonesomeness. God has been showing me lately that although my blood family is aloof and uncommunicative, God has a family for me that loves me and cares for me. It has only been in the last few months that I am starting to see this. As I sit alone on Christmas eve knowing I will spend Christmas alone yet again, those new family members will call to check on me in their busy day with their families. I am blessed to have this. Thank you Jesus for your gift and for giving me a family.

  32. INCREDIBLE!!! Christmas is a time to be with family and our loved ones. This year is quite a bit different for me, my husband has been through some trials and has ended up in a hospital in ICU so that’s where we will be spending our Christmas eve and Christmas day. I can’t say enough of how this devotion has truly impacted my thoughts and feelings right now. Being young and not married for very long I have been scared thinking I was alone, I have been proven so very wrong. Thank you so much for sharing and allowing your words to comfort me in my current situation. God IS with me!

  33. Thank you for the beautiful message that reminds me God is with me.

    I have a little story to share with you. Our church did the carol singing at the local shopping centre. Unfortunately, we had only four singers on the day that made us impossible to make beautiful harmony. However, we took our courage, pray for we would sing for the Lord so it was OK for us even if we did not make the harmony and sang carols as best we could. The singing went for an hour.

    A couple days after, our church received the call from one of local people. The person thanked for our carol singing and our songs made her heart joyful.

    I heard the story from our paster on the very Christmas day, today. It was the amazing grace from God and I was sure God was there and surely He will be here with me right now.

    Dear friends,

    I wish your very merry Christmas.

  34. Hi…just read your devotion for today, and wow, it hit home…you see it’s my first Christmas after my husband’s death. God put your words and His words in my inbox because I needed to read them, to read of the hope that can follow, even when I am in the midst of the grief and loneliness. I am thankful for the chance to read them, and know that there is hope. I miss my husband so very much every day. It is so good for me to read these words and for me to believe that God is truly with me now. God Bless.

  35. I too will be celebrating Christmas without my husband due to him passing away in June. I know God is near and that is what gives me hope for 2014!

  36. Thank you for sharing God’s encouraging words. Yesterday I had a mammogram and today I was told they found a nodule in my right breast. I will have another mammogram on Monday December 29th and an ultrasound if needed. Today I am battling fear and feel afraid and alone. However, I am clinging to God for strength and healing. And thank you for showing me that He is with me. Can you pray for me that all is okay and that it’s nothing?

  37. Susan Ludwig says:

    I cannot express how much this devotional touched me! I just lost my 28 year old brother to suicide a week ago and have been in great pain with lonliness attached to it even though I have been surrounded by family. It has been only through taking time to ask Jesus to help me sense His presence have I been truly comforted. Thank you for what you said and how you said it, especially about the needs thing. That was meant for me!!
    Bleasing,
    Susan Ludwig

  38. A wonderful message. When my dad died, on December 21 years ago, my mom was left with 3 kids, ages 8, 6 and 6 months and she was 2 months pregnant with me. You are not alone. There are so many dealing with grief. Death and grief has no season, and this world is full of sorrow, but thankfully if we know Christ, we can have peace.

  39. Im just reading this message today. I somehow got kicked off the daily devotion. ..but I am praying for each post still the same as if I got it on Christmas eve. ..Teresa I experienced the same thing when my mother passed 8yrs ago….the 2nd year wss the hardest. ..God is in control. ..remember Immanuel on your lonely days.God’s blessings to all and Happy New Year !

  40. Aundrea L. says:

    Thank you for sharing!! I needed this! God Bless you!

  41. Pastor Sue White says:

    I read Micca’s account of her first Christmas without her husband and think of my daughter-in-law who is at this moment sitting at her husband’s bedside (my son) praying and hoping that he can survive yet another surgery. Yes, God is always with us . . . even though some will deny Him . . . I still trust in His endless and everlasting mercy.

  42. I lost my teaching job (elementary) 2 years ago. During this horrible time I have wished great harm to myself, but just can’t do it to myself. You mention that God is with us, that He is right next to us. However, as you mentioned in your devotion, He feels distant and uncaring. I have called out to Him often and she’d more than a few tears, but He doesn’t care! There are other problems I am experiencing as a result. I won’t bother you with them. He already knows them. Do you have any guidance for me. I feel so useless and broken!!

  43. Is there any hope??

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