Immanuel – God With Us!

Blog – 12-21-16

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”

Matthew 1:23

Christmas is four days away. We are all busy wrapping presents, baking cookies (Okay, I admit – I haven’t started yet!), preparing food, decorating, attending Christmas parties and gatherings, and feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. It’s a season that truly lives out the saying, “things to do, places to go, and people to see!”

It’s easy to miss the true meaning of Christmas in the hustle and bustle. It’s easy to miss the wonder of the single event that changes everything, that Jesus comes in the flesh to be Immanuel, God with us.

My band and I experienced Immanuel last weekend at our final Christmas show. We performed a show in honor of Veteran’s at the Wild Rose Casino in Emmetsburg on Saturday night. We had snow on Friday night, so our drive Saturday morning was a little tricky. On top of the snow, we had record breaking low temps of 30 degrees below zero, yes below zero, before you add in the wind chill factor. Let’s just say we were freezing during load-in. Yet we all arrived safely.

Sunday morning when we were loading out, the wind had gone down, so the temp of 27 degrees below zero seemed almost balmy! Not really, but it was definitely better. We got loaded and hit the road by 10:45 a.m. Life is good, right.

Wrong!

About a mile down the road, my husband’s truck was having problems. He had no power to pull the trailer. It was so bitterly cold that the diesel fuel was jelling up. We stopped at Casey’s and through a series of miraculous events, God provided. Instead of focusing on what was going wrong, I kept hearing God prompting me to notice all the things that were going right. He kept pushing me to see and be aware of Immanuel, God with us.

Things like the fact that we weren’t out of town when John’s truck started acting up. We could have been in the middle of nowhere, but instead we were able to sit in a nice, warm place with food (there HAS to be food, right!) as John and Brian, my sound man, tried to figure things out. I’m thankful that Brian and John are so good with vehicles and knew what needed to be done. I’m grateful that we got to sing for the employees at Casey’s and brighten their day. The breakdown was actually fun!

I’m grateful that when John’s truck died totally, Barb’s truck which was just about ready to head home hadn’t left yet, so they were able to tow us back to the Casino. Stop and think about that for a minute. If that vehicle had left just five minutes earlier, we would have had towing costs and lots of extra time and it would have been even more stressful. I’m thankful that the Casino had a brand new heated shed they had just finished months before where we could get the truck going again.

My heart felt so warm at the sight of all the male members of my band pushing John’s truck into the shed. No one hesitated going out in the arctic air. Everyone jumped right in to help. I’m also glad I don’t tour with all girls anymore! I love Judy and Barb, but we would have been totally lost!

My mouth literally dropped when we got into the shed and they had the exact blowers that we needed to heat up the truck. That was GOD at work in a mighty way! I’m grateful we could hang out in the casino restaurant, eat more food!, and John and Brian knew what needed to be done. Within two hours we were on the road again. That’s beyond amazing to me.

I’m thankful that we had a way to get the members of my band home that needed to so they could lead worship that night at Sunnybrook as planned.

In the end, all of us were home safe and sound before dark. Awesome!

Instead of concentrating on what went wrong, I feel blessed that God prompted my heart to see the absolute miracle that each of those pieces played in our journey. God is faithful. God is good. God provided for us in a mighty way. God is truly Immanuel!

I pray that as you go through the final days of this Christmas season you will be prompted to see Immanuel, God with us, in your life. How is God providing exactly what you need exactly when you need it? How is God showing up in your life in the little things? How is God walking alongside you? How is God offering you His peace in the midst of the chaos?

I know He’s there. Take a deep breath. Stop, look, and listen for Immanuel! Be amazed at the way He provides and takes care of your needs. Notice the ways that God is truly there in your life. Feel His holy presence!

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas as we celebrate Immanuel, God with us!

Hugs and love,

~Jill

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