This Christmas Eve, I was given the opportunity to lead a beautiful song entitled “God With Us” by Terrain. After practicing it five to seven times with the Worship Team, I began to grow nervous. Though I was used to leading worship and singing songs in front of crowds, I couldn’t seem to shake my fears and doubts. I questioned if I was good enoughstrong enoughsmart, wise, Christian enough. But the funny thing is, once I started to sing, all those doubts seemed to dissipate from my existence. 

Because if you’re like me, leading worship can be an enjoyable experience and gift to those you are driving, but for yourself, it can be difficult to soak in, reflect on, and value the words you are singing. After all, when you are so focused on lyrics, pitch, harmony, melody, breathing, and posture, it can be hard to think about anything else (ask any musician, sound guy (#myhotbfworksinIT ;), singer, or even Pastor)!

Yet this Christmas, as I began my song, something strange started to happen. I had practiced the words so much they were written on my flesh and fully surrendered to the Father. They were ingrained in my soul to focus on what they were declaring to me. And the more I sang, the more I rang true with the beliefs I was proclaiming to others.  

With worship, I was engaging in with others.  

With the now relaxed Spirit, I focused on the beating Holy Spirit within me.

And how? Because I had practiced the song so much, the words were written on my heart. They were written on my heart as an offering to the Lord. Just as He commands us in His Word through Scripture, we are told to write these things on our hearts and bind them to us. Meaning no matter where we go or what we do, He and His power will be with us (and I’m not talking about this song, but the Scriptures associated with it; Check out Proverbs 3:3;6:21;7:3; Deuteronomy 11:18). For the first time in a long time, I felt the Spirit beaming within me, “Yes, Amber, you too can believe these words you encourage others to take refuge in.” “You can believe the words the Worship Leader read in Matthew 1:18-23 that this God, meI, am with you always, even in the midst of your darkness. I am God with you.”

In no surprise to my already emotional and fragile state, I held back tears halfway through singing “God With Us,” as the Spirit began to prompt my soul in awe of the Father’s love, majesty, and might. With the resounding bridge, “No matter what, what storm may come, Our God is here, Our God is here. When fear gives in, When darkness runs, Our God is here, His name Emmanuel” building higher and higher, I sang as if I were preaching these truths—for I was.  But not just to others, or God, but myself.  

I realized that after everything I’ve been through the past eight months- severe health issues, anxiety, depression, stress, and a crumbling family, it honestly didn’t matter, for God, our God, your God, my God, He’s alive in us.  And I don’t think you got that, so reread it. I said our God is ALIVE, breathing, living, shaping, shaking, moving our being within.  It was if I could feel Him rising inside of me. Bubbling and overflowing to the top, the more I declared, sang, and preached His truths, long after I left the stage I was singing. And in case you were wondering, ask anyone, I wasn’t up there for myself, but Jesus and what He’s given for me.

For that night, as I laid in my bed, exhausted from helping lead part of an incredible service, I smiled in wonder, praising God, and texting my mentor about the goodness of His presence.

Our God is living, breathing, beating in us, and He longs to use us for His Will, His Way, His Glory. His name is Emmanuel, which genuinely means God WITH US.  Not some crazy, delusional man who’s just floating up in the sky, watching and waiting for us to stumble, but a passionate, personal, close, pursuing, and intimate God that resides in each of us who choose to partake in a personal relationship with Him.

This Christmas season and far beyond, take the time to realize that God is with us, residing within, wherever we go, and in whatever we face. Speak that truth into existence and let it drown out the lies. God is still here though we cannot see Him, and we know that we have an even more excellent gift than the Apostles, for He’s with us internally, no matter where we wander.

“For your sake, it is good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you…” (John 16:7, ESV).

God is still here, and He’s within me. Within us.  Within our world, pain, and hurt.  And the best news is, He’s never leaving. He faithfully is God with us. Immanuel (Hebrew; Old Testament), and Emmanuel (Greek; New Testament) alike, God is still here.  From the past, present, future, and now, God in the flesh, three in one, forever within the hearts of those who love Him, God with us will resound.

“Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, KJV). “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God With Us” (Matthew 1:23, KJV).

Do you not know that God’s Spirit dwells within you, and you are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16, ESV)? Then live as it friends. Shout it from the rooftops, leap, sing, dance, and shout for joy.

Omnipresent (Everywhere)

Omniscient (All-Knowing)

Omnipotent (All-Powerful)

We have an unquestionably intimate, devoted, personal, and relational love with the Father, closer than a brother, sweeter than a lover, and more profound than a friend. 

He’s made His dwelling within us (John 14:23) and will never leave.

“Be not dismayed, fear not the darkness, Jesus is here, He walks beside us, Gracious is He, through all our weakness, Forever faithful, forever good. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God with us, Living Inside, Emmanuel.”

How can you live like Jesus is among us this week? Give that glory, praise, and honor to Him, and be encouraged yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forevermore. Amen? Amen.

Agape, Amber