I'm going to try to summarize what Richard said this morning...because it meant so much to me and I want to share it - but just know that it was so much better in person:) Richard directed us to Matthew 1:23 Listen! The virgin shall concieve a child! She shall give birth to a Son, and he shall be called "Emmanuel " (meaning "God is with us").
Richard said that during this Christmas season we should know that "God is with us," and accept his embrace. When someone hugs you, it isn't an embrace until you put your arms around them and hug them back. That's what God wants us to do, he wants to embrace us and have us embrace him back. That's what it means for God to be "with us..."
Then Richard started talking about some of the difficult times we go thru and how God is still with us. I am also gonna try to do this in the same format - only with things that pertain to me and my loved ones this Christmas.
When it feels like you don't have a friend in the world...and lonliness overtakes you - just remember, God is with you.
When addiction has torn apart everything you have ever held close to your heart - just remember, God is with you.
When you are faced with January approaching and the possibility of no job, nothing to support you - just remember, God is with you.
When the balance in your checkbook is negative and the bills are piling up - just remember, God is with you.
When you've lost someone that held your heart...that lifted you up and held your world together - just remember, God is with you.
When you are sick and growing weary...not sure what tomorrow brings - just remember, God is with you.
When you are left here on earth to deal with an unexpected death of someone who was so important in your life that you don't want to face another day without them - just remember, God is with you.
Accept God's embrace...let him really be "with" you this Christmas season and everyday after that - He is waiting with His arms open.