Roy Orbison’s song, “Only the Lonely,” isn’t about Christmas, but it describes the feelings of some people during the Christmas season. The “most wonderful time of the year” can be their worst time of the year. Christians aren’t exempt from intense loneliness. You may be one of the lonely. If so, I have good news for you!
My Ponderings leading up to Christmas have focused on the bonus gifts you received the moment you turned to Jesus in faith. Along with forgiveness of sin and a future home in heaven, you received: Gift #1—direct access to the Father, and Gift #2—the two greatest prayer partners, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Today, let’s ponder Gift #3—God’s constant presence in your life.
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are never alone. Many Scriptures state this fact, but consider just three.
An angel assured Joseph, “Mary has remained pure. The Holy Spirit conceived the child in her.” Matthew notes, “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt 1:23, quoting Isa 7:14). This name of Jesus points to the reality that “God is with us.” This statement is in the present tense, meaning He is constantly with us; we are never alone.
I Will Come to You
Fast-forward 33 years. Jesus knew He would be arrested that evening, and gave final instructions to His 12 disciples. (John 14-16) He prepared them for His death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, but He promised, “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you” (John 14:18).
How could Jesus be with them and also be seated at the Father’s right hand? The answer is in all three chapters (John 14:15-18, 15:26, and 16:5-7). Jesus promised that, on His departure, the Holy Spirit would come to live inside each believer.
The Holy Spirit is God’s constant presence in every believer’s life. He came to us. He will not leave us. He is God with us—in good times and bad, no matter how we feel. We are not alone.
I Won’t Leave You
Fast-forward 35 years after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The church had expanded throughout much of the known world. Most of the Apostles had been martyred. Jesus’ followers experienced times of great joy and times of deep sorrow. The author of Hebrews wrote a letter encouraging his fellow believers toward continual spiritual growth. Near the conclusion he wrote, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb 13:5). Once again, the Lord promised the gift of His constant presence in our lives. He is our constant source of contentment.
During this Christmas season, you may abound, you may be abased, or you may stay about average. You may have a lot, suffer lack, or land somewhere in between. Whatever your outward circumstances, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your Christmas bonus is secure. You can enjoy His constant presence—“Immanuel … ‘God with us.’”
You are not alone! You will never be alone. You are not an orphan. You are God’s child through faith in Jesus. You are wanted and welcome in the family. And don’t forget Bonus Gift #3—“I will never leave you nor forsake you”—God’s constant presence in your life.
With Great Anticipation,
Dr. Mark H. Ballard