Day 10/January 3 Devotion

Reflection by Adam Fairchild, recent graduate of University of Maryland in College Park, Metro D.C. Synod Intern, and will begin M.Div. studies in Fall 2021

God is with us. I do not know about you, but the idea that God is with us is a particularly challenging message to hear in these times. Amidst the bleakness and difficulties of the past nine months, seeing God at work in our world has become tough. Where is God when countless people suffer from a global pandemic? Where do we see God in the conflicts that plague our world? Today’s scripture shows us one way in which God responds to these questions. In a world similarly filled with suffering, hardship, and death, God chose to incarnate God’s self in a baby born to a virgin on the edges of an empire. Despite seemingly-impossible circumstances, God entered the world as the embodiment of weakness and vulnerability.

In naming this baby “Emmanuel,” meaning “God is with us,” this scripture reminds us that there is no circumstance too challenging for God to appear among us. To see God we must look beyond our conceptions of what is possible and what is not. Just as we see in this story, we must look to those considered weak, to the vulnerable, and to those who are marginalized to fully see God in our world. As we look for God in these unexpected places and unexpected people, we can better understand how God accompanies us as a source of comfort, strength, and challenge as we encounter difficulties and suffering.

God is with us. Let us look for God beyond what we know and what comforts us.

Matthew 1:22-23

22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

Questions to Ponder

  1. How have you felt God’s presence over the past nine months? 
  2. Where have you seen God at work in the actions of others?
  3. Who are the weak and vulnerable of today’s world among whom God appears? 
  4. How can you begin or continue looking for God in unexpected people and places?

Silence for Reflection

Prayer

Good and gracious God, we give you thanks. We thank you for your reminder that you are with us through all challenges and difficulties. Help us to better see you at work in our neighbors and walk with us as we look for you beyond what we think is possible. Give us faith to recognize your presence in our lives and in the lives of our neighbors, so that we might continue to live into your call to love you and love one another. Amen.