Emmanuel; He Who Is With Us And Will Never Leave Us

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photo (83)I caught Norman the other day peering around a Christmas tree at baby Jesus. He was just being curious, not really into a lot of mischief like he “Norman-ly” is!

My little friend “Norman” will be going back home to the North Pole very shortly. Christmas Eve as a matter of fact. This is the third year he has chosen the Maxwell family to reside with. (Wow Norman, you must really like us!) I’m so glad that he has too. This little stinker is sure a lot of fun, not to mention, cute as a button.

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a children’s picture book that tells the Christmas-themed story that explains how Santa Claus knows who is naughty and who is nice and describes elves visiting children between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, after which they return to the North Pole until the next holiday season.

OK…so if you know me and my family you’re probably thinking about right now…”but they don’t have little kids at their house!” No, we don’t. But when I saw how much fun and how cute this idea was, I bought one for myself…which goes to prove, you’re never too old fora little fun! I must say though, it’s been challenging at times to think of what our “Norman” could get in to!

For those of you who have been keeping up with my little friend on Facebook, you know that he just happened to sneak into my pocket book one morning as I was getting ready for school a few weeks ago. Guess he decided to spread the love and fun in our classroom! Our kids were pleasantly surprised! They absolutely loved that Norman came for a visit for several days.

Norman made himself a cape and called himself “Super Norman.” He toilet papered our room and the scarecrow that sits in our reading garden. He made a mess of the big barrel of the cheese balls, but enjoyed them as he did so! And when he got into our Little Debbie snacks with the evidence all over his face, our kids absolutely loved it! Especially when I took him into our bathroom and scolded him. I did it so the kids could hear me, making a big deal out of it. I told him, “You better clean your face right now young man, Papa Elf and Santa will NOT be happy with you when I tell them about you getting into our snacks!” Our kids went wild that day. They loved the scolding. They wanted me to scold him each day he was caught doing something! He left our classroom notes telling the boys and girls he would be reporting back to Santa. He even had a friend show up to help out with the antics.

Yes, Norman will be going back to the North Pole, but in his wake, he leaves the Maxwell family and a certain Kindergarten classroom lots of laughs and funny memories.photo (84)I’m so glad that our Papa God isn’t like Norman! Here with us for a little while and then he is gone. Can you imagine what life would be like if God had chosen to do that. But He didn’t! He came to be among us, to be with with us and to never, ever leave or forsake us!

One of the most beautiful names for Jesus is, Emmanuel. This Hebrew name means, “God with us.” This name that is so unique and purposeful, is even beautiful to say, as well as to sing. A name like no other. Reverently spoken, whispered and thought of.  A name cherished within the heart of mankind for those who know Him personally.

When God decided to send His very own son to the earth to be born of a virgin, He chose this name, a name like no other name. A name that means He, Father God/Papa God was, is and always will be with us!

“She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus – ‘God saves’ – because he will save his people from their sins…They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God with us“). Matthew 1:22-23 MSG

The same God that Moses proclaimed to Joshua, is the very same God today!

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Speaking to Joshua, God assured him of this…

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 NIV

Speaking to you and to me, God is assuring us of this…

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

God came to earth in the form of the sweet baby Jesus. That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Christ among us. He walked among us. Loving those and teaching those he came in contact with. He died and then rose again to give us new life, an everlasting life. Then he left a friend to be with us.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14: 16-17 NASB

He’s got us covered folks! It’s very clear in God’s word that we are NOT alone and that He will never leave us! I know Norman has been a lot of fun, but he’s out of here soon, and as cute as Norman is, God is not like Norman!  

The next time the overwhelming feeling of loneliness starts to creep upon you, remember the promises in God’s word and hang on to them! I’ve always heard that Christmas time can be a very lonely time for people, especially if they’ve lost friends, family and loved ones. If this is the case for you dear friend as you read this, my prayer is that you will feel the love of God, and His constant presence in your life this Christmas season. Feel His loving arms around you and know that He will never leave or forsake you!

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