Wandering and wondering in the wilderness


At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of the Christ child.

Theologically, it is referred to as the incarnation, the moment when the God of the universe embodied himself in human flesh. God became man, and in doing so, he made it possible for man to see God. That is what the incarnation is all about.

What if you were to approach Christmas from a little different perspective this year? Instead of traveling back to Bethlehem and remembering the baby in a manger, what if you were to bring Jesus to where you live?

We talk about a star, the wise men, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph and the angels as we remember Christ’s birth.

“‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’ — which means ‘God with us.’” — Matthew 1:23 (NIV). Immanuel means “God with us” where we live right now.

We can encounter the presence of God in many places and in the various seasons of life. We’ve been exploring ways we experience God’s presence in the valleys of life. We often enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we experience him intimately in the valley.

Let’s consider another metaphor from Scripture. How do we experience God’s presence in the wilderness?

The wilderness is different from the valley because our time in the wilderness can last so much longer. The wilderness represents a dry place. It is a barren place. The wilderness is often described as a desolate place where you feel so very alone.

In the wilderness, we will do a lot of wandering, and we do our share of wondering. There is the aimless wandering as we travel from place to place. Then there is the wondering about how we are going to get out of the wilderness and how long the wilderness will last.

You may be living through a wilderness experience right now. You are wandering, and you are wondering. Maybe your wilderness experience is your job. You’re wondering how much longer you should stay. It could be a dating relationship. Do you stay in the relationship or do you move on?

If you’re feeling stuck in any area of life right now and you’re just not sure what to do, you may be wandering in the wilderness. When you are in the wilderness, you may feel lost, afraid, disoriented and alone.

The message of Christmas is Immanuel — Go with us. You are not alone. He will get you through. More next time.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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