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2017, A Year to Draw Near

Another Christmas has come and gone, yet the truths that we celebrate during its festivities should remain constant. One of these glorious truths, which was the focus of my Advent series, is found in one of Jesus’ titles, Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

This word, Immanuel, most likely rings familiar to you; we sing about it each year and we hear it repeated in Christmas plays. Is it possible, though, that in spite of (or maybe because of) its familiarity, that many have failed to grasp its beauty? In the ancient world, names really meant something— and this one certainly does.

Jesus Went to Infinite Lengths to Get to Us

This year, alongside the Scriptures associated with the Christmas story, I read Tim Keller’s new book, ‘Hidden Christmas,’ in which he reminds the reader of the infinite lengths Jesus went to, in order to be with us. Consider Philippians 2:

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)

Did you get that? Jesus emptied Himself. He humbled Himself, became a servant and was obedient all the way to the cross. How can this not move us? In a million lifetimes, we could never get up to God, so out of massive love, He came down to us. Through His sacrifice, He removed the barrier between us and God; because of His death, burial, and resurrection, we can be reconciled to God. How incredible!

What Are You Doing to Be Close to Him?

Isaiah 9:6 says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” A son is given. Jesus is a gift, and a gift must be received. John 1:12,13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Have you received Him by faith? Have you confessed Him as Lord? Have you yielded yourself to Him? That’s the starting point. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Then, that relationship is cultivated through—amongst other acts— prayer, Bible study, corporate worship, Christian service, and simple obedience.

What lengths, O’ Christian, are you going to be near Him? Is Jesus the priority of your life? If not, why? What could possibly be more important? He is the greatest Treasure. Nothing compares to Him. And we, because of His sacrifice, get to know Him– personally. This is astonishing! And it is even more astonishing to think that we would not do everything possible to capitalize on this invitation to be near to Him.

Resolve, in 2017, to Draw Near to Him 

Let not the Christmas message leave you at the brink of the New Year. The Holiday is gone, but the message remains and its truth should continue to drive us. Jesus went to infinite lengths to be with us, may we do everything we can to draw near to Him. May He be the Priority, today and always. Enough with the excuses. In the midst of weight loss goals, exercise goals, marriage goals, financial goals— and any other aspirations we might have for the new year—may we resolve to treasure Jesus, keeping Him at the Center of our lives; 2017 is a great year to draw near to Him like never before.

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