“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” ~ Psalm 119:114
Many Bible readings this time of year center around the second chapter of Luke. This is the traditional Nativity story, where we find all the details of angels and shepherds and Wise Men. But the Incarnation is also described in a sweeping, big-picture kind of way in John 1.
At the heart of this passage is the Word. We serve a God who spoke creation into being. Who spoke commandments to the Israelites. Who spoke prophesy about the coming Messiah. Who was written about in the Bible, his holy Word.
Then the Word became flesh through the birth of Jesus. He walked this earth, side by side with the people he came to save. He spoke life-giving words everywhere he went. He paid the ultimate sacrifice – death on a cross – and then rose again. Finally he uttered the famous words “I will be with you until the end,” before joining the Father in heaven.
The Word became flesh. The Word lived and died and rose again, restoring God’s relationship with humanity. That is a reason for great hope. But even more than that, he promised to be with us until the end.
Whenever we lack hope, we have the Word. We have the Bible. We have the Holy Spirit.
There is a new covenant. This Word is not written on scrolls or stone tablets. It’s written on our hearts. We carry the Word around with us all the time.
Emmanuel. God is with us. These words are not just for Christmastime. They are for all time.