Immanuel: God with Us
On the last Friday in October, the Jamieson family was feeling overjoyed! We had been counting down the months, then the days and we were finally here: baby Abel’s due date! Earlier in the month, we had all made guesses as to when Abel would finally arrive. Annie and Cecilia were hoping for an early delivery, meanwhile, I assumed he’d come late. None of us expected him to be born on Halloween day!
Yet, amid all the excitement, something else was looming over our celebration: the results of a covid test. Two years into this pandemic, we all know what it’s like to wait for a covid test. We retrace our movements—where have we been, who have we been within 6 feet of—and we do our best to not assume the worse. However, in Cecilia’s case, we got the dreaded positive test result. That’s right, on the due date of our son, our 5-year-old daughter got a positive covid test.
Our celebration became frustration and heartache in a matter of moments. All our plans for where Cecilia was going to stay during the delivery went out the window. She had to quarantine, and we had to bring an infant home. This was not the kind of situation I was hoping Abel would be born into.
I wonder if Mary and Joseph were feeling similar stress when they heard the news, “There is no room at the inn.” Were they scared? Were they worried? I wonder if they thought to themselves, “This is not the kind of situation we hoped our son would be born into.” Jesus was born in turbulent times. He didn’t wait for the perfect nursery to be put together or for Mary and Joseph to have time to buy the latest stroller. Jesus didn’t wait for the world to be peaceful to make an appearance, instead, he entered the chaos as the bearer of peace. Jesus’ presence was the greatest antidote to our broken world.
As Annie and I stressed about Cecilia’s health and where she would go during Abel’s delivery, we needed a God who knew the unpredictability of life firsthand. We needed a God who had watched over the birth of his Son in a world in turmoil. We needed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s exactly who showed up. God provided a babysitter who was willing to put their own health at risk, so that I could be there to support Annie through labor and delivery. God provided the research done by doctors and scientists over the past couple of years, so that we could safely bring Abel home. We praise God, that Cecilia remained asymptomatic during her quarantine and that none of the rest of the family got sick.
As we celebrate yet another holiday season amid an ongoing pandemic, you may feel the tension between joy and sorrow. You may feel like peace is lacking and chaos is raging. If that’s you, may God’s peace be yours this Christmas. May you see God at work in the small details and big drama of your life. For, the same God who entered our turbulent world two thousand years ago, continues to enter our lives every day, promising to be Immanuel: God with us.
Peace be upon you,
Chaplain Travis Jamieson